108 Sun Salutations Challenge
Don’t worry, we’ll divide them into 4 sets of 27, each set with its own intention or dedication, and taking breaks between each set. We’ll round out the event with some wind down poses and a long savasana. We’ll allot 2-3 hours to complete, but we may end a bit sooner or go a bit longer, so please allow some flexibility in your schedule.
Sun Salutations are a series of yoga postures that flow smoothly from one into another. It is an essential part of vinyasa-style yoga as every pose in the sequence is linked to the breath.
Sun Salutations, along with Om and lotus symbols, are the most iconic representation of modern postural yoga.
The 108 Sun Salutations practice is typically practiced on the two equinoxes and two solstices, celebrating the change of the seasons. The number 108 is considered highly auspicious in many traditions.
We yogis practice 108 sun salutations on special occasions like the birthday of our teachers or New Year’s Day, or to raise money for a special cause.
It’s such a powerful practice.
How to do 108 Sun Salutations:
This practice is a prayer in movement. Create an intention, dedication, or prayer for healing.
Best time for 108 Sun Salutations is in the morning. Sometime we practice at night, because it’s most convenient for our studios.
Divide the Yoga Mala in nine sets of 12 sun salutations. You can do something a little different in each set — change the variation of sun salutations, the focus, or the intention.
Your first set should be like a warm up or opening series. Gradually increase your back bends — small locust, sphinx, baby cobra, cobra, upward facing dog on your knees, then full upward facing dog. Do two sun sals of each for set one.
Hold downward facing dog for five breaths every six sun salutations and two breaths for every other.
If you’re practicing with a friend, count out loud. You count even numbers and your friend counts odd or vice versa. In a group, each person counts a sun salutation in turn. Alone, count in fours, twelves and nine sets of twelves.
It’s interesting to focus on different body part in each set. Example: Pay special attention to the placement and movements of your hands for 12 surya namaskar; then your shoulders, neck, head, heart/chest, spine, hips and thighs, knees, and feet.
- Rests / Pauses
If you are feeling dizzy or ‘Vatic’, do a brief child’s pose with your forehead on the floor, between your cobra / upward dog and downward dog. You can also rest in child’s pose for five breaths instead of downdog.
- Alignment & Breath
The movements are repetitive, so be sure you stay conscious of your alignment and breath in each pose. Create length in your spine at all times. Seek to liberate the space around the base of your neck — look forwards, back of neck lengthening, in cobra / updog as opposed to looking up. Engage the legs whenever and soften the backs of your knees. When lowering in chatarunga, keep shoulders at the same height as elbows and neck long. Breathe and enjoy.
Please note: you don’t have to do all 108 Sun Salutations. Factors of 108 like 27, 36 and 54 are also auspicious numbers.
How will I benefit from 108 Sun Salutations?
Here are just a few benefits you can expect after completing:
- more focused
- more disciplined
- more resilient
- more committed to your yoga and to your own betterment
- feel much stronger
- more capable
- more fluid
- better connected to your mind
How should I prepare my body and mind for this event?
- Get a lot of rest the night before
- Eat healthy, nourishing foods, but don’t eat a large meal just before the event
- Study the Surya Namaskar A sequence and practice a few (5-10) per day
- Consider why you want to do this. Consider your intention.