Happy Friday!! I know, well at least in my book, summer starts memorial day weekend, but today is the Summer Solstice and the true first day of summer!
Some people mark today with BBQ and beach visits; however, in the yogic world, today is marked by something a little different. In honor of the summer solstice yogis and yoga enthusiasts from all over will do a series of 108 sun salutations. Why 108 you might ask?…well, there are many meanings for the number, some of which I will share below!
-108 is the number of Upanishads. Upanishads are a collection of philosophic texts used to form the theoretical basis of Hinduism.
-108 is the number of names for Buddha as well as for Shiva in Hindu philosophy
-108 is the number of beads on a mala. A mala is cyclical strand of prayer beads, similar to the idea of a rosary.
-108 is twelve times nine which is the number of vinyasas in a traditional sun salutation.
There are many others you’re welcome to explore for yourself but the idea of the 108 sun salutations is to honor yourself and welcome the change of seasons with a refreshed, renewed self.
A sun salutation consists of 1. inhaling and reaching the arms overhead, 2. exhaling into a forward bend 3. inhaling and lifting half way keeping fingers touching the earth or your shins 4. exhaling to jump or step back into a low push up 5. inhaling into upward facing dog 6. exhaling into downward dog 7. inhaling to jump or step your feet to your hands 8. exhaling into a forward bend 9. inhaling, reaching hands overhead and exhaling them back to heart center.
Arguably 9 is two in one and you don’t have to exhale and bring your hands back to heart center. I feel, and I am not alone in this, it’s more complete and seals the flow to bring your hands back to heart center- plus gives you a starting point for the next 107.
Trust me when I say this is challenging and you’re certainly going to feel the warmth and ache creep through your body. However, the cleansing, detoxifying benefits and the feeling of renewal you experience upon completion is truly elating!
Dedicate your 108 to someone or something you love and mark the start of your summer right!