Spring Equinox: time again for 108 Sun Salutations

On New Year’s Day, Bobbie and I were — of course — in India.

And we celebrating, at my insistence I suspect, by running through 108 Sun Salutations. (Thanks to all the Ashtanga practitioners for looking the other way!)

Via timeanddate.com

I know it was the effect of all the temple visits, darshan and satsang, but that practice was the single more energetic one of my life.

Let me explain what I mean.

I mean that I really felt the energy moving through my body, enlivening … well, everything. It felt like you hear it described: a current of energy; a palpable tingling and pulsating; moving breath.

Prana, in other words.

When I think about how Tim Miller describes his first Ashtanga class, and how we found a familiar place he’d not been to in a long time, and that it is a feeling he’s continually sought since, I imagine it was something akin to what I experienced on this past New Year’s Day.

(Remarkably, as I write this is the first time I put those two experiences together. That’s going to take some time to digest.)

Wednesday is the Spring Equinox, a traditional opportunity to bang out the 108 Sun Salutes practice. (Some people take a quick breather after each “set” of 27. It’s a good way to manage the counting.) They’re doing it at Richard Freeman’s Yoga Workshop. There you learn:

Why 108? Many cultures have viewed 108 as a sacred number, symbolizing the wholeness of existence. Mathematically, 108 has many unique properties. The number has astronomical significance as well: the diameter of the earth is approximately 108 times the distance to the sun. 108 beads make a traditional prayer mala. So join us as we salute the sun 108 times to usher in the Spring!

[Update: I think the astronomical significance meant there is that the average distance between the earth and sun is 108 times the diameter of the sun, not the earth; it is about the same regarding the moon, in that the distance between the earth and moon is about 108 times the moon’s diameter. Finally, the sun’s diameter is about 108 times greater than the earth’s. Thanks for the head’s up from a reader. Here’s one of many links on 108.]

I’ll be getting up Wednesday morning and doing this practice once again. I don’t expect I’ll have the same experience I did in India three months ago, but you never know.

It’s that not knowing what will happen, in part, that keeps bringing us back, right?

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

7 thoughts on “Spring Equinox: time again for 108 Sun Salutations”

  1. The way I’ve always (I think) done it is 5 As as you would normally start (i.e. five breaths in the down dog) and then from there just one breath in the down dog, so you’re moving along pretty briskly. Some people might begin with 5 As, and 5 Bs and then go to the one-breath dogs from there.


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