Doing 108 sun salutations is a cleansing tradition to welcome the new season. Yogis do it on their own or gather to do it together (like I did over Zoom, hello Coronavirus).
Why 108 ? Because 108 is a sacred number:
- There are 108 Upanishads and 108 Tantras (Indian sacred texts)
- In Ayurveda, there are 108 sacred points on the body (mama points)
- In numerology, 108 equals 9, which symbolizes universal love, eternity and awakening
- In astronomy, the distance between the Sun and Earth is roughly 108 times the Sun’s diameter
You got it, 108 is everywhere. So 108 it shall be.
An Ashtanga yoga teacher here in Bologna offered me to join her practice for the Spring equinox this year.
You know me by now, give me a challenge, I’ll jump into it!
So, here I am, having never done more than 10 Sun salutations in a row, going for 108.
I’m going to disappoint you right now, I got to 70.
But I’m very proud of that number and I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned in the process:
1. I am stronger than I think
No, I didn’t reach 108 the first time but I didn’t think I would reach 70 either. Honestly, I thought I would collapse after 30, maybe 40. Stop underestimating yourself, give yourself some credit and be proud !
2. The body needs rest
I wouldn’t have get to 70 without a few child’s poses in between. Yes, the body is a fabulous bio computer AS LONG AS you respect its rhythm.
3. I can overcome my impatience
Another thing I experienced was getting bored at some point. It’s like running. You could go on but your mind lets you down because it’s bored. Overcoming the impatience to be done with it to see how I would feel afterwards is a real pride for me!
4. My body is actually a good tool to control my emotions
It’s hard to acknowledge that emotions come and go inside of you without you being able to do anything about them. Repeated surya namaskars (Sun salutations in Sanskrit) allowed me to let go much more quickly of those emotions. Every new pose brought another feeling, emotion or sensation. Quite fascinating!
Tips for practicing 108 Sun Salutations
So, ready to try it out ?
Listen to your body
Modify the pose if you need to. When you get tired, bring your knees to the mat for Chaturanga, for example or trade downward facing dog with baby cobra.
Remember to breathe all along!
Hold on to your intention
You can set an intention for your practice. Since it’s the same asana over and over, you have the mental space to repeat a mantra to yourself. Grab the opportunity, stay focused and send a lot of good energy to the world!
Take time to rest afterwards
You may want to wind-down after the practice. Transition to relaxation with some other poses like pigeon, happy baby or some twists.
Then, take the rest of the day to relax and really infuse yourself with the benefits of the practice.
I hope I got you excited about the next change of season to practice 108 sun salutations.
Practice and the rest will come, Namaste!