108 Sun Salutations...
A few years ago I heard about the tradition of 108 repetitions of Sun Salutation, I was intrigued because 108 of anything is a lot! But, I really wanted to give it a try but it was never the right time and to be honest I was intimidated by the fact that it was 108 and I doubted my ability to be able to perform so many in one go.
The 108 salutations are frequently done at a solstice or equinox, I get myself the challenge after Mabon (Autumn equinox) that this winter I was going to complete the whole sequence. On the run up, I was so busy that I didn't manage to add any sessions with more than 22, and in the past I would have put this challenge off because of self doubt but not this time.
108 is a spiritual sacred number, this number appears in sacred texts there are 108 Tantras and 108 Upanishads.
In numerology, 108 equals 9, which is the number for universal love, eternity and awakening.
In Ayurveda medicine, there are 108 sacred points on the body.
In Astronomy, the distance between the Sun and the Earth is roughly 108 times the sun's diameter.
There are 108 mala beads that are counted as a mantra during meditation.
The Spring and Autumn equinox make the days and nights equal. The spring is about rebirth, renewal and detoxing the body from the strain of winter.
The Autumn Equinox is about going within, to grow over the winter period, to be grateful for the abundance and joy that we have seen in the harvest.
The summer and winter solstice is when the day is either at it's longest or at its shortest. Summer is about celebration, abundance, the sun and warm days, growth and contentment. The winter solstice is about letting go, the death of old negative habits and the rebirth of the longer days and the renewal of the sun.
I did four rounds of 27, with a 1 minute break for a drink and to apply oil.
MEDITATION BLEND OIL - Clary Sage; Myrrh; Frankincense (2 drops of each in my water diffusor)
HEART BLEND OIL - Rose; Bergamot and Geranium (Almond oil base)
ROOT CHAKRA OIL - Cinnamon root; Ginger and Patchouli (Almond oil base) an alternative base is Grape seed oil.
The first round
The first 27 were by far the hardest to complete. My mind was all over the place fearing the rest that were to come and doubting that I would be able to finish - 108 sounded so many. From around 20 things got a little easier and I finished the 27 better than I started. I felt pretty invigorated. The first 27 were mentally the hardest to achieve.
The second setThis time I remembered to apply the heart chakra oil that I had blended to the mid point in my chest and on my eye of Horus tattoo (which to me signifies for me to remember I am more capable that I allow myself to think). Setting the intention this time to let go of all that was holding me back with my thoughts and fears about being seen.
My third roundSetting another intention, more on a personal note this time. However, around the mid point in this round, I slipped from Down dog to Uttanasana to my knees. This was at the perfect moment because in my thoughts I was thinking too much and putting myself under too much pressure. It was a lesson at the perfect time and made me re-evaluate my constant pushing forward.
Crown & 3rd eye oil.
The fourth and last set was the physically the most challenging; but the most beautiful mentally and spiritually. When I saw I only had 2 left I was upset. I reached a place of peace, tranquility and stillness that I have not experienced for a long time. It was bliss.
Afterwards, I felt a sense of peace, introspect, calm and still. Physically my arms were quivering, my shoulders burning, my wrists and ankles are stiff and my back a little achy from the back bends - but I LOVED every single one of those sun salutations and every equinox or solstice you will find me doing 108 salutations in celebration and rejoice. I can not recommend you doing this enough.
With breaks between 1 minute and 3 minutes it took me 65 minutes to complete. This has to be rated as one of the best hours of my year.
What is the point?
The flow of Surya Namaskar builds internal heat, this is great for getting rid of sluggish energy that is hanging around. The flow gets you more in touch with yourself...and with 108 there is a lot of time to get in touch with yourself, but strangely not enough time - you feel to escape inwards.
The flow of the sun salutation and the heat ignites our Prana, which helps one address our emotions and stuck thoughts. At some point -beginning, middle or end- you will ask yourself what the hell you are doing and what you want to achieve. But, keep pushing yourself and you will get into a flow with a sense of wellbeing, peace and surrender.
This ancient ritual is well worth the effort and dedication to get through them. This will be a regular seasonal event for me now, because I learnt that I am stronger than I thought I was, that I am holding myself back - I have learnt lessons but won't get out of my comfort zone to fully live a new story only toe by toe and it is time to make a leap. I have seen that I am more than I allow myself to see. I have learnt other things, but somethings are just for yourself...maybe in Spring you will join me in 108 Sun Salutations?