108 Sun Salutations - What Can You Give Up?
It's here!!! My favorite day of the year...the first day of SUMMER!!!
I love everything about summer. The heat, the longer days, the cookouts, the vacations, pool time, and so much more!
At STUDIO B POWER YOGA, and elsewhere throughout the yoga community, we celebrate the change of season by performing 108 Sun Salutations. It is a powerful experience that will challenge you both physically and mentally. It is also extremely detoxifying and a fun way to welcome in a new season....especially summer!!
If you are interested in joining us tonight, you can sign up here. I've decided to utilize the entire studio space (check in area, hallway, lounge, etc.) so more spaces have opened up!
108 has been known as a significant and sometimes sacred number for a long time and for a number of reasons. I've listed a few of the reasons below and some more in the info graphic to the right.
- Mala beads, used for prayers, chants and mantras in buddhism and hinduism, have 108 beads
- There are 54 letters in the sanskrit alphabet, each with a feminine and masculine. 54 x 2 = 108.
- In astrology there are 9 planets and 12 houses. 9 x 12 = 108.
- There are 108 double stitches on a baseball.
Benefits of 108 Sun Salutations
The number 108 itself isn't particularly significant to me. What is significant, however, is performing 100+ sun salutations, pretty much back to back. Not only is it a great strength and cardiovascular workout for the entire body, but it is a powerful and invigorating experience that is empowering and transformational.
Performing the same set of movements over and over again is extremely meditative. It is a great way to clear the mind and make space for new thoughts and ideas to shape the future of the season ahead. In yoga, we are often held back physically by our thoughts. Meditating, even in movement, is a great way to break through those mental road blocks.
The other side of the coin deals with the physical body. We tend to hold emotions, experiences and stressors in our physical body. Performing such a vigorous workout (108 sun sal's is both a strength and cardiovascular workout for the entire body) allows us to release areas of tension throughout the body, clearing space for new feelings and experiences.
In short, clearing the mind can lead to physical breakthroughs while clearing the body can lead to emotional and psychological transformation. Performing 108 sun salutations is like a spring cleaning for the mind and the body. It is a great way to let go, both physically and mentally, of what no longer serves you.
How is the Class Structured?
Every studio is different. At STUDIO B, we break the 108 up into 4 rounds of 27, with a short break after each round. I begin each round in child's pose where I invite my students to set an intention for the round ahead. Round 1 is dedicated to a personal intention, Round 2 to family and friends, Round 3 to the world and Round 4 to the source (whatever that means to the individual). Click here for a post I wrote about setting intentions.
Before the first round I take my students through some gentle stretches like child's pose, cat/cow, walking the dog and rag doll. We close with some restorative poses like waterfall, supine twist and, of course, savasana.
If you haven't tried 108 yet, I definitely recommend it. It's something you can do at any level of practice. Just like in a regular yoga class, always listen to and honor your body. Take child's pose as many times as you need to and meet the rest of the class in down dog when you feel ready. After class, make sure you load up on electrolytes and nutrients to give your body the proper love and fuel it needs.
Q: Have you ever participated in 108 Sun Salutations? Would you? Thoughts?