- 7th Jun, 2017
Why 108 Sun Salutations on Solstice?
Moving from ordinary to auspicious....
The number 108 has many important and symbolic meanings in diverse disciplines ranging from mathematics to religions and spiritual practices, martial arts and yoga. To call out just a few examples:
- A Japa mala (or Mala) refers to prayer beads customarily used in both Buddhism and Hinduism. Recitations of prayers, mantras and chants are counted bead by bead on Malas. Buddhist malas traditionally have 108 beads, said to signify the 108 human passions that Avalokiteshvara assumed when ‘telling the beads’.
- In mathematics: 1 to 1st power = 1; 2 to 2nd power = 4 (2x2); 3 to 3rd power = 27 (3x3x3). 1x4x27 = 108
- 108 is a Harshad number, which is an integer divisible by the sum of its digits (Harshad is a Sanskrit word that means "great joy"). Yes, it’s 12 for the mental maths enthusiasts among you.
- There are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to and from Anahata, the heart chakra.
- There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti. 54 times 2 is 108.
So, why practice 108 Sun Salutations?
As we turn up the heat - our burning desire to serve others; to make an impactful difference; to act in defiance of human, animal and environmental exploitation; to take a stand against injustice - pierces through our concerns for our small self.
It is an effortful act of surrender towards a higher purpose.
In fact you can do 108 Sun Salutations anytime and any day, it doesn’t have to be for a special charity fundraiser in a special yoga shala, it can be in your bedroom. There are times when we feel spiritually sluggish and disconnected, this is equally a legitimate and potent opportunity to uplift and reinvigorate your yoga practice. It is principally the sentiment and intention behind the action that infuses the practice with auspiciousness.
Transforming the mundane to the extra-ordinary.