April 18 is Day 108 & a New Holiday is Born. ~ Yasmin F. Gow

Via on Apr 16, 2013

Day 28 yasmin

As you may know, the number 108 is a sacred number in yoga as well as in other traditions.

One represents divinity or ‘oneness’, zero ‘the circle of life’ and eight is the symbol of infinity, which also signifies ‘as above, so below.’ There are also 108 Upanishads (Vedic texts), 108 names for Shiva and the Buddha, 108 beads on the Tibetan mala and, among other things, 108 stitches on a baseball!

Anyway, you would think that the 108th day of the year, which is April 18th (or 17th on Leap Year), would be a thing. Turns out, not so much.

So three years ago, I decided to create my own yoga holiday to cultivate community spirit and celebrate diversity. April 18th, 2010 is the day I began my challenge of 108 days of 108 sun salutations. It was an exploration of yoga as well as a way to bring together yogis of different traditions together in practice.

Surya namaskar is something many of us share; the sequences may not be identical, but all sun salutations are prostrations of reverence. A communal Yoga Mala practice (108 Sun Salutations) is both powerful and auspicious.

Every year since, I organize Yoga Mala(s) on April 18th in order to cultivate and celebrate the yoga community. In case you want to set up your own 108, here are some tips:

1. Intention: This practice is a prayer in movement or japa meditation. Create an intention, dedication, or prayer for healing. It’s helpful to write it down.

2. Offering: You can offer to do this practice in honor of someone who needs healing.

3. Schedule: When possible, do 108 Sun Salutations early in the morning.

4. Timing: Give yourself two hours.

5. Sets: Divide the Yoga Mala in nine sets of 12 sun salutations. It helps you count. You can do something a little different in each set—change the variation of sun salutations, the focus or the intention.

6. Opening: Your first set should be like a warm up or opening series. Move slowly.

7. Holding: Hold downward dog for five breaths every six sun salutations and two breaths for every other.

8. Counting: 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 sal in turn. Alone, count in four, 12 and nine dozens.

9. Focus: 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.

10. Breath: Let the breath guide you consciously from one pose to the other.

11. Stay simple: You may want to throw in a bunch of wacky poses into your flow, but this can shift you off track. Best to stick to a simple variation for most sun sal and maybe add a more dynamic one every six or 12.

12. 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.

13. Alignment & Breath: The movements are repetitive, so be sure you stay conscious of your alignement 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 forward, back of neck lengthening, in cobra/upward dog 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.

14. Factors of 108: You don’t have to do all 108 Surya Namaskar. Factors of 108 like 27, 36 and 54 are also auspicious numbers. Do what you can.

15. Visualize: One of the best variations of surya namaskakar I was ever taught is the ‘virtual sun salutation’ whereby you stand in tadasana while visualize your movements and sync your breath.

16. Have Fun & Explore: Practice barefoot in the grass, play music, try some sun sals on your finger tips or with hands backward. Make your yoga mala uplifting and joyful.

17. Finish: Savasana is really important especially after 108 sun salutations. It helps you rebalance the energy throughout the mind and body.

18. Give thanks: Take a moment to be grateful for your practice, for the health of your being and to those who made it possible for you to practice on this day.

Send me your Yoga Mala stories. I’d love to hear about your experiences.

This year, five Montreal studios are hosting simultaneous 108s from 7:30 to 9:30 pm EST. People can also join us via our free webcast from the new Wanderlust Studio. Find more details here.

 

Yasmin F. GowYasmin F. Gow has taught yoga for over a decade. She is mostly an ashtanga vinyasa teacher with training in therapeutic and Iyengar yoga. Yasmin is also an accredited ayurvedic practitioner, speaker and producer of five acclaimed yoga dvds. In 2010, she completed 108 days of 108 sun salutations and then became the first woman to break the Guinness World Records™ Record for the longest yoga marathon lasting 32 hours. This initiative raised more than $15,000 for charity. Montreal is Yasmin’s home base, where she leads a successful teacher-training program and mentors other yoga teachers and entrepreneurs to reach great heights. Check our her website or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

 

 

Like elephant yoga on Facebook.

 

Ed: Bryonie Wise

 

 

 

About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive. Questions? info elephantjournal com

1,824 views

Like this article? Leave a tip!

(We use PayPal but you don't need an account with PayPal.)

Elephriends - Mindful Affiliates

5 Responses to “April 18 is Day 108 & a New Holiday is Born. ~ Yasmin F. Gow”

  1. Brooke says:

    I really love this new holiday!! My Nana died on April 18th…and it is usually a very sad day for me, but realizing the significance of this day makes it not so sad anymore. This can now be a day to look forward to, to celebrate her , as well. I will do my 108 on April 18th for her. Thanks, Yasmin. Namaste.

    • Yasmin Yoga says:

      Thank you for sharing. May Apr 18 continue to be sacred for you both in holding the memories or your Nana and in the beauty of the 108. Sincere blessings. :)

  2. @yogatwit says:

    Thanks for the great idea. I just finished 108 rounds. I thought I would do this instead of my regular morning . :)

  3. Rajesh das says:

    Montreal Massage invites you to enjoy an ancient art of relaxation. We are the first salon dedicated to using Nuru Gel to provide you with an experience like no other, we have created a beautiful relaxation inducing atmosphere for a sense of detachment from the outside world. Tenderness and mystery is the unique combination offered by an exotic woman's touch. Not your usual massage, but a celebration of pleasure allowing your most intimate feelings to emerge.

Leave a Reply