by Gail Allen
When many beginner yogis hear that they’re supposed to do 108 Sun Salutations on the Summer Solstice as the sun rises, they nope right on out of that. I don’t blame them in the slightest! 108 is a lot of anything! Let alone a whole yoga flow sequence!
Please do not despair yogis; yoga is so much more than the physical poses AND it is merely a suggestion! No one will take your Aspiring Hippie Card if you don’t do any at all. Trust me on this… I know!
So why that number? What is so special about 108? It turns out, there’s a lot of instances of that number showing up. It’s the number of beads on a Mala. (So maybe you decide to chant a mantra 108 times. That is still yoga!) It’s also the approximate distance from the Sun to the Earth when using the Sun’s diameter as a unit of measurement. There are 108 sacred points on the Human Body according to Ayurvedic Medicine. And the coolest one of all to me… if you add the numbers together, you get the number nine, which is considered in numerology the number of awakening and new beginnings!
We practice Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) for many reasons. The flow and breath are considered a way to build a fire in our bellies (metaphorically, of course), awaken and balance our Solar Plexus Chakra, and help that energy flow up and out. Through the flow of the practice, our bellies face the ground and then they face the sky. It’s a way to envision the cycle of life. Sun Salutations are symbolic in our emotional healing cycles, as well. Acknowledgement. Surrender. Empowerment. Strength. And finally, Awakening. As the cycle continues - over and over and over - you find out that you can do hard things. You find strength you didn’t know you had. You are not stuck and your energy is not stuck in one place. You are rooted and grounded. Every Chakra has a chance to awaken and balance. You find alignment, peace, and tranquility.
So will you give it a try this year? Maybe not 108 Sun Salutations all at once. But maybe one a day for a month? Maybe you greet the Sun on the Summer Solstice with an open heart, ready to receive all the loving energy the earth has to offer? Or maybe you’re ready for the Awakening of a lifetime! Whatever you choose, we’re so very glad to make this next trip around the sun with you!
Be sure to join us in our Summer Solstice Course where we teach you how to do Sun Salutations while seated in a chair or using the chair as a prop. You have options!
Gail Allen and Danielle Schwartz are both 500-RYT yoga professionals trained in Hatha and Kundalini Yoga. They specialize in Chakra Healing, Curvy Yoga, 8 Limbs of Recovery (yoga for recovering addicts), Reiki Healing, Aromatherapy, and other modalities of healing.