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108 Sun Salutations for the summer solstice

June 21st marks the day of the most sunlight, the summer solstice. It is tradition in some disciplines to mark the turn of the seasons with 108 sun salutations.

“The word solstice is derived from the Latin sol ("sun") and sistere ("to stand still"), because at the solstices, the Sun's declination appears to "stand still"; that is, the seasonal movement of the Sun's daily path (as seen from Earth) pauses at a northern or southern limit before reversing direction.” (ref. Wikipedia)

The beauty of the pauses, the importance of the stillness and taking a moment to notice them is one of the things I love the most about yoga, another perfect reason to align with nature!

So what is the 108 and why do we do it?

  • 108 is a sacred number and linked to many different beliefs such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. It has connections in science, literature and disciplines such as karate, and kung fu…some (of many) examples: There are 108 beads on a mala bead

  • There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti. 54 times 2 is 108

  • If one is able to be so calm in meditation as to have only 108 breaths in a day, enlightenment will come

  • There are said to be 108 Indian goddess names

  • In Ayurveda (ancient Indian medical system) there are 108 pressure points in the body

  • There 108 defence combinations that are considered canon in Shaolin Kempo Karate

  • 108 degrees Fahrenheit is the internal temperature at which the human body's vital organs begin to fail from overheating

  • There are 108 lines in Edgar Allan Poe's 1845 poem "The Raven"

  • The distance between the Earth and the Moon is also about 108 times the diameter of the Moon

  • See here for more!

What will we do in the 108 Sun Salutations practice?

Surya namaskar, or “sun salutation,” is one of the most common sequences in yoga practice and it comes with various options for each section.

We practise this ancient tradition as an opportunity to mark the move to a new phase in our lives and to take an opportunity to have gratitude for where we are today and let go of anything that does not serve us as we move on.

The practice can take as long as you need but we will aim to move together through it in 1.5-2 hours. We will flow with our breath and move together. I will talk us all through each set as we warm up, get spicy! and take more restful salutations. There is nothing to worry about, it is challenging but worth it.

Image taken from:

Image credit: Baleika Tamara

Join us to salute that sun!

Here in the UK, the ‘stand still’ takes place at Wed, Jun 21, 2023 15:57 so we will be doing 108 sun salutations at 17:00 at the Marquee in Tarbert, Argyll. Please come join us. Booking required in advance via the website.

Here’s the rules

  • Essential you bring water to drink, sips not gulps in the breaks!

  • Suggested a towel as we’ll be getting fiery!

  • Please do not eat for minimum 2 hours before you arrive

  • Please arrive early enough to get settled so we can begin by 5pm sharp

  • Option to bring a blanket for savasana (relaxation) at the end

  • Have your manta ready (see below)

IMPORTANT: please arrive hydrated, this means hydrating on Tuesday and Wednesday ready for your 108. Hydrating during the practice is required however your body should be hydrated well before we begin. We will be building fire internally so let’s look after our bodies!

For our 108 we’ll set a personal mantra for ourselves, an intention so please have a think about what yours may be before you arrive. Choosing something that’s right for you to focus on can be an incredibly liberating or healing experience. For example:

(Inhale - exhale)

“I inhale positivity - I exhale negativity”

“I invite peace in - I release stress”

“I accept myself as I am - I release attachment to judgement”

“I inhale acceptance - I exhale my ego”

It could be a simple as one word in and one word out…

Following our 108 you may feel a release of emotions, everyone is very different as are the it might be wise to allow yourself some absorption time after the session.

And finally, remember to enjoy it, you are stronger than you think! You might learn something about yourself and even if not, you’ll be super proud once you have completed your first 108.


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