Surya Namaskar, or ‘Sun Salutations’, is a sequence of yoga poses performed at the beginning of most yoga classes, and certainly in each and every one of mine. They wake up the whole body, using every muscle group and building an internal fire, or ‘tapas’. They bring up your heart rate and set the tone for the rest of the class. Since they are very repetitive, it is easy to let your body do the work, let your muscles remember and start getting into a meditative state. You can take a look at the sequence here.
So, why would you do 108 of these Sun Salutations? The number, 108, has a lot of meaning in many different ways and appears in ancient scriptures, such as in astrology and mathematics, as well as in yoga. One meaning that speaks to me every time is that 10+8 equals 9, which symbolizes universal love, eternity and awakening. Originally, 108 Sun Salutations were performed at the change of the seasons - the winter and summer solstice and the spring and fall equinox - but they can be practised at any time of profound change, such as the New Year, weddings, or birthdays.
Here are the six reasons you should NEVER perform 108 Sun Salutations -
1. It is not easy. It isn’t easy for any seasoned yogi, or for any fitness freak nor for a complete beginner.
2. It will make you question why you would ever sign up for anything like this and you will feel like giving up more than once
3. Your body will ache for more than two days after completion
4. Your emotions will be all over the place
5. You will sweat, you will cry, and you will curse the teacher in the front
6. You will swear to never do it again.
And then there are the reasons why you should. With the right guidance, this is what it can teach you:
1. It isn’t meant to be easy- it is a personal challenge. Life isn’t easy and going through changes isn’t easy. The practice of 108 Sun Salutations is meant to bring you more in touch with your body, and that it surely does!
2. You are stronger than you think. Whether you perform 9 or 108 Sun Salutations, your body is able, and you are equally able, to do something you never thought you could.
3. You will get a new appreciation for your body. Using every single muscle group and letting your body take over is not something we usually do. It is a great exercise to feel our body in ways we never have before, and you will notice that you enjoy the aches in the coming days, as they also mean you have made more space in your body.
4. Performing the same sequence - or nine movements - over and over again can make you reach a higher meditative state than you have ever experienced. It will also allow you to let go of any emotions that no longer serve you, and the fluid movement of the body will let stuck energies flow again. Releasing in this way is powerful and can have lasting effects on your mental state.
5. You will sweat, you will cry, and you will curse the teacher in the front - Let it all out! Make space for something new.
6. Your whole body and mind will be transformed. 108 Sun Salutations are not a joke. You will feel it in every muscle and every bone and it will feel so damn good. It will feel so good that you will definitely want to do it again. And very soon!
We will be performing 108 Sun Salutations to start off the New Year with the right mindset on Saturday January 11th, 9am in the inspiring and stunning Al Qudra Desert. If you would like to join us, please see the Facebook event here or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org