Monday, March 19, 2012

108 Sun Salutations

This Tuesday in my yoga class, we are going to be completing 108 sun salutations. Yes count them, 108. We think our yoga instructor may be a little crazy! She's not, she is in fact really great. She is 40 something and in awesome shape! She looks great, and I aspire to one day look like her. I once looked like her, when I was, like 18 years old. But that is not the point.

What is my point exactly? Well, I don't know. I just love  my yoga class and wanted to share with you what we were doing.

The first time I ever tried yoga, I was pregnant. I had the bright idea that my friends should try a yoga class, being offered at a local community club. I guess we didn't have "google" then, because I should have "googled" yoga and learned that a pregnant lady trying yoga for the first time, may just not fit into this class. It was a bust! I spent every class laughing at myself, which caused my friends to laugh at me, and I am sure we interrupted the class and made many people angry. Oh and then there was the time during shavasana (corpse pose), that I actually drifted off. Not my finest moment, but come on, I was pregnant!

I remember loving yoga though and after having my baby and going through a divorce, I needed something to hold on to, so I started yoga again. I have done it off and on for nearly six years, but this time, I enjoy it so much more. Perhaps because I am more connected to the idea of yoga and all of it's benefits.

I am getting my mind ready for our 108 sun salutations, and I am sure it will be the one night I actually sleep (which I am looking forward to more than you can imagine!). What is the significance you ask? Well, as I understand it, the 108 sun salutations is this...Every year on the spring/fall equinox (depending on which hemisphere you are in) yoga practitioners from around the world gather in local Global Mala events to celebrate and demonstrate unity and peace for World Peace Day.

         Shiva Rea, who began Global Mala, says this is where the significance of 108 comes from:
Renowned mathematicians of Vedic culture viewed 108 as a number of the wholeness of existence. This number also connects the Sun, Moon, and Earth: The average distance of the Sun and the Moon to Earth is 108 times their respective diameters. Such phenomena have given rise to many examples of ritual significance.
According to yogic tradition, there are 108 pithas, or sacred sites, throughout India. And there are also 108 Upanishads and 108 marma points, or sacred places of the body.
I suppose the reason does not ultimately matter that much. I know I can do it, I am a little worried that too many chaturangas will kill me, but I know my mind will conquer! It is going to feel great to be with a great group of women, and great instructor, and just do something that we all at first thought, "wow, she is crazy!"
Photo thanks to Yoga Journal

You know what else I really love about yoga? I love the secret little weapon I have against non yoga people, who think it's not "real" exercise. I love the way I have muscles that hurt that I didn't even know existed, I love that I can power my mind over my body, and I love that I can do things I never thought I could. I may not be able to run a marathon, lift much in weights, no wait, I can do that, I just don't want to. If you have to exercise, it should be something that feels right, feels good and has physical and mental benefits, makes you sweat and makes you energized and tired at the same time. Yup, that's exercise.

So, 108 sun salutations, here I come, wish me luck! I really hope we can do it in under 2 hours too!

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