You may have heard about Equinoxes and Solstices. There are two types for each, and they happen twice per year: Spring and Autumn Equinox; Summer and Winter solstice. And this Saturday we will be experiencing the Spring Equinox, also known as Vernal Equinox :-)
The word "equinox" is derived from Latin, meaning “equal night.” So on an equinox, night and day will have nearly the same length of 12 hours, all over the world. With the Spring Equinox, we are also marking the start of astronomical spring. At the same time, this day represents the time of new beginnings, which according to many believes, it makes the perfect occasion to detoxify the body. And here is where our 108 Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar) come into play!
On one hand, this time of the year always feels super energetic: we start to enjoy more the sunlight, days get longer and we begin to spend more time outside. On the other hand, if practicing Sun Salutations already feels amazing, aligning this practice together with the energetic shift from the Spring Equinox, we help positively to boost our mood.
Why 108 Sun Salutations?
There are 108 pithas (sacred sites) through India.
There are 108 Upanishads (ancient texts)
There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet, and each letter has a masculine and feminine: Shiva and Shakti. 54 x 2 = 108.
There are 108 nadis (energy lines) in the body converging to form the heart chakra.
108 number connects the Sun, Moon, and Earth: the average distance of the Sun and the Moon to the Earth is 108 times their respective diameters.
The numbers 108 all added together equals 9, which is the number of universal love.
I also really like the following point that I found at Roaming Yogi's blog: there are 108 feelings; 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future. Overall, there is a lot of lecture on the significance of the number 108 - but I found the reasons above the most common ones and valid for every culture.
How does the practice work?
Traditionally, we practice 54 Sun Salutation A and 54 Sun Salutation B to complete the number 108.
In our class this Saturday, the 20th, we will practice only Sun Salutation A with the goal to deepen the connection between pranayama and asana, until achieving a Mysore practice.
Students need to come well hydrated and bring a towel with them, since one of the benefits of this practice is that you will sweat a lot ;-)
What are the benefits of 108 sun salutations?
The fire you build during this practice is cleansing, detoxifying, and gets you more in touch with yourself. It allows you entering in a meditative state, surrendering yourself to the process and let it go any resistance that will appear during the practice.
On top of this, Sun Salutations heat the body and help the Prana (upward energy) move stuck energy and emotions within us.
Let's be honest: you will encounter resistance. Your mind will want to take control over you and start to wonder "why the hell are you doing this". When this moment arrives, keep it going, do not give up. And I promise that afterwards, you will feel lighter :-)
Looking forward to celebrate this Spring Equinox and practice together the 108 Sun Salutations! If you would like to join the class, send me a direct message or book it through the website.