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Why 108?

Posted 8/3/2014

I have been asked over and over, what’s with the 108, what’s so special about that number? Usually followed by, “ugh that’s a lot, I don’t think I do that many!!”

So why do we welcome in the summer solstice with
108 Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar)?
Here’s the answer in one little email.

First don’t focus on the big number of 108
Who cares if you do them all? It’s about your intention and creating a union between your body and mind and soul. Breathe! The breath will sustain the space. It will be rhythmical engine that will propel each of your fellow participants through. Honor your practice by practicing compassion and loving kindness. It won’t do you any good to hurt yourself and go beyond your edge

That being said
The Summer Solstice offers the perfect opportunity to hit the reset button on your life. It's a time to come together as a yoga community and recommit to our priorities: self-knowledge, service, spiritual development, and gratitude.

Sun salutations open and energize the entire body, and when done with total awareness, bring increased prana (life force) into the system. Not only can you easily complete 108 sun salutations, but it’s such an energizing practice, that at the end of 108, some people actually feel like they want to do more! Remember, yoga is not “exercise”. It doesn’t wear out the body, but energizes the mind, body and soul.

Why 108?
 108 is the number of “Upanishads” comprising Indian philosophy’s “Vedic texts”.
- 108 is the number of names for Shiva (a really important Hindu god).
- 108 is the number of names for Buddha.
- 108 is the Chinese number representing “man”.
- 108 is the number of beads on a Catholic rosary.
- 108 is the number of beads on a Tibetan “mala”
(prayer beads, analogous to a rosary).
- 108 is twice the number 54, which is the number of letters in the Sanskrit alphabet, one set of masculine (shiva) and one set of feminine (shakti).
- 108 is twelve times the number 9, which is the number of vinyasas (movements linked to breath) in a Sun Salutation
- 108 is the number of Sutras in the Yoga Sutras
- 108 connects the sun, moon and earth as the average distance  of the sun and moon to earth is 108 times their respective diameters
- The number 108 has long been a number of significance in India, birthplace of yoga... Renowned mathematicians of Vedic culture view 108 as the number representing the Wholeness of Existence. 1 stands for Higher Truth, 0 stands for Emptiness or Completeness in spiritual practice, and 8 stands for Infinity or Eternity.



Here are 108 reasons why you should Do 108 Sun Salutations at least once in your yoga journey 
108.  You would’ve breathed at least 1,080 breaths by the time you’re done (doing only Sun As).  Imagine the high.
107.  108 sun salutations = at least 108 push ups!  Can you say toned triceps?
106.  It stretches your hamstrings.
105.  It lengthens your spine.
104.  It flexes your spine.
103.  It focuses your mind.
102.  It increases your breathing capacity.
101.  It’s grounding.
100. It invites stillness.
99.  It strengthens your core.
98.  It strengthens your shoulders and upper body.
97.  It’s the foundation of any vinyasa yoga class.  You’ll be a master of them by the time you’re done because repetition increases competence.
96.  Inversions… downdog brings blood flow back to the head and face which could mean less wrinkles.
95.  Energizes your cardiovascular system.
94.  It’s serves as a mediation in motion.
93.  You’ll get to bask in the energy of the group’s vibration.
92.  It’s builds internal heat… burn baby burn away what ever bogs you down.
91.  Every round is an opportunity to experience devotion.
90.  You stand with attention.
89.  Sun Salutations “bestow upon us the good fortune of having only good thoughts, of hearing and speaking only good words, and of attaining a sound and strong body, so that we may have a long life and, one day, achieve oneness with God.” – Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
88.  The Sun represents the 3rd eye center and sun salutations can stimulate and balance out the 7 chakra centers.
87.  To bow and salute with gratitude to the Sun for giving us a new day filled with life-giving light and sustenance.
86.  It’s like a challenging and karmic marathon.
85.  It’s a personal accomplishment.
84.  It’s a opportunity to devote your practice to something bigger than yourself.
83.  You get to test out the saying “doing the same thing over and over again is the definition of insanity.”  Is it true for this case?
82.  You can verify if feelings are really fleeting.  Believe me, you’ll feel all ranges of emotions during the challenge.
81.  You’ll learn that when you’re not attached to results, the process gets easier and is actually fun.
80.  It’s cleansing.
79.  It’s gratifying.
78.  It’s challenging and who doesn’t like to be challenged.
77.  Some people run to find a cure for cancer and we salute the Sun for all sorts of reasons.  You don’t really need a reason but this time we’re honoring all the moms out there.
76.  It’s a great reason to get a bunch of yogis and like-minded people together to celebrate something.
75.  All of your muscles will be stretched and toned.
74.  You’ll have the best savasana of your whole entire yoga life ever.
73.  108 is a very auspicious number.
72.  Surrender to the process and bow with humility.
71.  It’s a great way to get to know your fellow yogis in your yoga community.
70.  It is said that humans have 108 sins, desires, delusions, and lies. For each sun salute you do, one sin is peeled away. After completion you feel pure and at peace.
69.  Develop discipline.
68.  Some say there are 108 feelings: 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future.
67.  It improves blood circulation throughout the entire body.
66.  It can change your life.  That’s the truth… I’ve met people who swore their life was transformed after doing their first 108 challenge.
65.  It’s an act of commitment and focus.
64.  It’s a lovely way to honor life and the world we live in.
63.  Oh, come on.. if the sun can rise 365 days a year, year after year, you can do 108 rounds.
62.  You get bragging rights.
61.  To say “boo-ya” to those who doubted you and for you to doubt your own doubts.
60.   By aligning many people around  a mission, intention, focus, and breath, it is a great reminder of how we are connected and one.
59.  It truly is one breath at a time, one movement at at time, one round at a time.
58.  At the end of it all, you might just be able to touch your toes.
57.  Enlightenment may be waiting for you at the end.
56.  To tell your mind to shut the F*%$ up.
55.  It can become your personal practice while you’re away from your community studio.
54.  It symbolizes the strength and perseverance that we’ve always had within ourselves to accomplish goals and dreams.
53.  Take the above 54 reasons and multiply by 2 = 108 more reasons.  :)  for this, the "5k of Yoga"! What can be more powerful than that?!

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