The Yoga Tradition of 108 Sun Salutations

Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice that means “Union.” The practice of yoga, meditation and breathwork allow us to remember our oneness with the cosmic universal energy-sustaining everything in creation, and with each other.  Separation and division will no longer exist when we breathe together, move together and connect together through our yoga practice. It is customary in the yoga tradition that on the Solstice, Equinox, and your birthday, to practice 108 salutations to the sun. Here is the how and why…

The number 108 is an auspicious number not just in the yogic tradition but also in many traditions around the world.

For example:

108 is the number of names for Shiva in Hindu philosophy
108 is the number of names for Buddha
108 is the number of stitches on a baseball
108 is the number of beads on a Catholic rosary
108 is the number of beads on a Tibetan mala
And astronomy shows that the diameter of the sun is 108 times the Earth’s diameter

How to Practice 108 Sun Salutations

  • Create your space
  • Place an altar in the center with a shawl or cloth where you, or your friends, can place items that you would like to have charged with the energy of the ceremony. I have seen people put wedding rings, a note with an intention, a crystal, a yoga mala, or a picture of a loved one, in the altar space. You can add flowers or sacred figures to the altar. See below for the photo of our altar from Spring Equinox.
  • If It’s just you practicing, you can place your yoga mat and your altar facing the East – that would be most auspicious. If It’s a group that you’re leading, I usually place us around the altar in a circle, and the leader faces East as well as the altar.
  • Have two bowls and place 27 beads in the bowl on the right
  • You will move the beads from right (bowl of beads) to left (empty bowl) at the beginning of each salutation to keep track of your progress. Move the bowl of beads back to the right again between sets.
  • Set intentions for each group of 27 (4 sets total)

Examples of Intentions for each set separately:

Personal transformation
For the wellbeing of family or friends
World peace
Gratitude
Global health
Well-being of all sentient beings
Equality
Purification
Positivity
Fertility
Igniting your fire for…..
Rekindling relationships
and so on…

Start with some warm-up exercises, set the intention for the first round, and begin. You can practice simple sun salutations without jumping to keep up your energy. Take a look at the video below for the salutations I lead for Spring Equinox 2020. They are gentle and easy to get through.

After each set of 27, have a rest period of 3-5 minutes. In the end, rest for 15 minutes in savasana.

Moving with others creates collective consciousness toward the intention. Remember though, if you don’t have time for 108 sun salutations, it’s fine to practice 27 sun salutations. Your intention is the most important part of this ritual.

Here is what 108 looks like on the rooftop of Davannayoga – filmed March 2021, Thanks to Brightside Communications for the footage for this video. Film editing by Dayannayoga.

Here is what 108 looks like on the rooftop of Davannayoga – filmed March 2021, Thanks to Brightside Creative for the footage for this video. Film editing by Dayannayoga.

Check out Anna’s Free Youtube video leading you through 108 sun salutations for the Spring Equinox at davannayoga.

Join us for an upcoming Equinox or Solstice Celebration at Davannayoga Puerto Vallarta. Keep an eye on our Events page to find out when our next one will be.

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