September 22 Yoga Mala: 108 Sun Salutations

It may look like night but this was actually EARLY this morning! This photo reminds me of chakras going up the spine, but I’m weird like that
The movements of Surya Namaskar (sequence A) – the Sun Salutation. This is one round. We repeated this one round 108 times.

“The Sun represents the physical and spiritual heart of the world.  We salute the Sun to give thanks for a new day filled with life-giving light and sustenance.” MindBodyGreen

In honor of the autumnal equinox today, I woke up at dawn, headed down to lululemon and set up my mat in the parking lot to get in some sun salutations (“A” sequence only). By “some” I mean 108! If you are a practicing yogi, you will see that number come up again and again. There are as many stories explaining the significance of that number as there are numbers in that number so pick one and love it. I have never participated in a celebration such as this before and it was exhilarating, I seemed to get MORE energy as the time pressed on. It took one and a half hours of non-stop, continuous movement to complete 108 Surya Namaskars (Sun Salutations).

The first 36 Surya Namaskars were dedicated to letting go of the past. The middle 36 were dedicated to being fully present. The last 36 were dedicated to setting an intention for the future. We were given three different leaders for each of the phases.

What are some of the benefits of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation): Borrowed from yoganonymous

:: Promotes healthy digestion and gets rid of constipation and dyspepsia.

:: Strengthens and tonifies abdominal muscles by the alternate stretching and compression of abdominal organs.

:: Ventilates the lungs, and oxygenates the blood.

:: Acts as detoxifying agent: rids body of enormous quantity of carbon dioxide & other toxic gases.

:: Quiets the nervous system and improves memory.

:: Promotes sleep and calms anxiety.

:: Normalizes the activity of the endocrine glands – especially the thyroid gland.

:: Improves muscle flexibility.

:: Helps reduce fat.

:: Improves grace and easeful movement of the body.

:: Keeps your spine flexible.

Here are my own tips for getting through 108 sun salutations:

  1. Don’t count, someone else is doing that
  2. Close your eyes, go within
  3. Do your best to not pay attention to what anyone else is or is not doing
  4. Go pee before you start
  5. Have a water bottle and a towel near your mat
  6. Smile the entire time, you have no idea how much this helps you
  7. Know where the sun rises and face away from that direction (I had my back to the mountains in the East)
  8. Appreciate your body at whatever speed or level it is able to work
  9. Have a mantra and repeat it in your mind when you need strength. It can be one word like “strength”, “yes”, “open”, “love”, “om” or a short phrase like “I got this”, “I am love”, “I’m a badass”
  10. Keep moving and believe that you will finish all 108
  11. Welcome change
  12. Breathe when you are supposed to breathe, there are very specific times to inhale and exhale during surya namaskar, take the suggestions
  13. Thank your body

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