On Friday, I completed 108 sun salutations in honor of the spring equinox. My hometown yoga teacher, Jen, puts on the “Great 108” near the beginning of each season. My first 108 experience was actually the first time I ever took her class: I went into the studio for a beginner class and was thrown into the 108 instead.
I was a little freaked out, needless to say. I’d only been practicing yoga for a couple months, and I thought I could barely complete five sun salutations, let alone one hundred and eight. But Kim, the owner of the studio, assured me that there would be little breaks in between sets of 20, and there would be no shame in not doing all 108.
But I did them all. I did 108 rounds of sun salutation A. By no means were they all pretty and graceful, but I did them. I was astonished at what my body could do, grateful that Kim and Jen coaxed me into class, and proud that I’d had the courage to try it. If I hadn’t, I might have never known that I could do it. The experience is also what later encouraged me to seek out Jen for some private sessions–one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I’ve done the 108 several times since. It’s a special practice, and here’s why:
Why the 108 is *#$%&@! Great
1. No matter how many sun salutations you do, you always find out that you can do more than you think you can.
2. The practice becomes very meditative. Because you’re repeating the same asanas over and over again, you stop thinking about them and bring your focus to your breath and your rhythm.
3. It feels powerful. You feel like you’re putting all your strength and dedication behind your intention.
4. You get glitter after 100! Ok, so I’m pretty sure that’s limited to my yoga teacher, but you can always provide your own (and if you do so in a class, please do share the story of your classmates’ reactions to you whipping out a bottle of glitter and sprinkling it on yourself).
5. It helps us to remember to reflect upon the previous season and prepare to transition into the next one.
6. I mean, let’s just admit that it’s kind of fun to tell people you did 108 sun salutations, even if their reaction is, “What the hell is a sun salutation?” (For friends asking that right now, I’m including a little illustration below this list.)
7. Although it’s the same set of poses over and over again, you notice differences from one to the next.
8. The savasana, obviously. 🙂
In case you’re wondering, here’s a little information from Yoga Journal about 108.
This 108 was dedicated with all the love in my heart to my strong and beautiful mother, who will soon be undergoing surgery for breast cancer. I would do 1,008 sun salutations for you, Mom. Your light has many times been the only way I could see through my darkness. I could not have found the sources of my own light without the astounding power of yours.
Much love to all of you, and to whoever inspires you to do your practice.