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Spring Equinox - Celebrate With 108 Sun Salutations

In yoga studios across the world, today, March 21, is a special day. The Spring Equinox represents a change in seasons, and it is celebrated by doing 108 Sun Salutations. (Here are the first 5 poses in Sun Salutation A).

Typically this ritual is performed 4 times a year, with the start of each season, to acknowledge the changing world around us. It usually takes about 1 1/2 - 2 hours to complete.

The 108 salutation practice is named Mala, representing the 108 mala beads (prayer beads). There are many reasons for the Hindu and Buddhist belief in the sacredness of the number 108.

  • There were initially 54 sounds in the Sanskrit alphabet: 2 X 54 = 108
  • There are 108 Upanishads, which are part of the oldest scriptural texts of Hinduism. They primarily focus on philosophy, meditation, and the nature of God.
  • There are 108 names for Hindu deities.
  • The distance between the earth and sun is 108 times the diameter of the sun, therefore, the number 108 is taken to represent the "distance" from the devotee to the divine.
  • Some say there are 108 feelings: 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future.

Some people believe that doing 108 Sun Salutations is a way of breaking out of the darkness that accumulated from the long winter. It's a way of "spring cleaning," your body and your mind.

Fit's Tips: If you are interested in being a part of this incredible tradition, ask your local yoga studio if they are offering a special Spring Equinox class. Some studios do it today on March 21, and others have a special class to celebrate on the weekend. I speak from experience when I say that this was a powerful, not to mention physically challenging experience, one I will always remember.

Join The Conversation
calango-verde calango-verde 10 years
Fitness Fitness 10 years
When I performed a Mala a few years ago, I definitely was lost in meditation. My friend Mark was there to count each sun salutation, and the whole group of us (about 12) did them exactly in unison. It was a powerful experience.
calango-verde calango-verde 10 years
I unknowingly performed a mala for the winter solstice. i had a little help from a friend and also some honey dipped friends with no arms or legs, only caps. It was fairly amazing. I was lucky to have a human friend with me to help keep count. My only focus was to have perfect form in my mind's eye. There were times when I lost connection with space and time. I was euphoric. I was seeing colors, reliving past experiences, accepting future in what seemed like the nebula of the present. Since then I have had some interesting side affects while performing regular sun salutations. Especially when I performed them at noon. There are times that my eyes see the sun in any of the postures. The sun leaves imprints in my brain and the symmetry in the images in my mind coupled with the symmetry of the postures gives me that same euphoric bliss that i felt during my first mala. When I think about my sun salutation experiences I am filled with content. I was just wondering if anyone else feels this way?
Beaner Beaner 10 years
I have done this! It was so tough and by the time you hit like 30, you're body justs starts to move without you knowing it.
yogini yogini 10 years
Wow, this is awesome! I would love to find a studio near me that does this. I bet it gets tiring after the first 20!
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