I have been doing 108 Sun Salutations for the New Year for probably around 15 years. Every now and then I decide to do them at other times of the year too, but for me they now hold a huge significance in burning out the old year and opening up to the dawn of the new one.
108 is not a random number either. It holds significance in the yoga tradition, but also within astronomy and math – Google “108” and you will get a myriad of answers. For me, the most meaningful description is the idea of 108 steps in the spiritual journey from our outer experience to our inner Self. To perform 108 of anything is an acknowledgement that we are willing to start to take steps on the path to get to know our Self better, from outside in and inside out.
So why 108 Sun Salutations then? Well, of course at first they are just fun and active and a good way to sweat out the year behind us. But, around 10 years ago, I was introduced to the 12 names of the Sun God (Surya) and was immediately drawn to their significance for the start of a New Year as well.
The “names” of Surya are actually “qualities”, and like everything in yoga, we are not here to praise something outside of ourself, but embody our own inner light. As we “salute the sun”, we open ourselves up to the qualities that the sun embodies – healing light, warmth, sustenance, energy, etc…We acknowledge that those qualities also are within us and through our actions, we are able to shine brighter and better in the New Year. We ultimately salute our own true Self in this process.
On New Years Day at 10:30am, please join me at The Yoga Place for another round of 108! And don’t be scared of the number either! I have taken this journey with many levels of student and I myself am only days beyond a trim of my meniscus, but there are many ways to “salute” your Self – from the full-on Sun Salutation to a simple forward bend. This guided practice includes your first steps into 2020 and it is a great opportunity to come together and start the New Year right!
HAPPY NEW YEAR and SEE YOU THERE!