Practicing the 108 Sun Salutations is done traditionally during the changing seasons. Greeting the Summer, Winter solstice and Spring, Fall Equinox. June 21st, Summer Solstice, is the first day of Summer and the longest day of the year While December 21st, Winter Solstice, is the start of Winter season and the shortest day of the year. Spring is marked by the day and night being of equal length on March 21st, while the Autumnal or Fall Equinox is exactly 12 hours daylight and 12 hours of darkness on September 22nd.
Surya is Sanskrit for Sun and Salutations for Greeting. Sun Salutations are comprised of nine poses. These nine poses are blended into a flow that is referred to as a Vinyasa. Each Vinyasa or series of nine poses is counted as one Sun Salutation and done 108 times during the greeting of the changing season.
Personally, the significance or origins of 108, due to the diversity of its application, has been less important than the timing or the execution of practice in past years, letting the benefits occur organically. But Interesting origins of 108 is that it is divisible by 9 which is considered to be a perfect number, 108 is equal to 9, there are 108 sacred points in the body in the practice of Ayurvedic medicine, the distance between the sun to the moon is approximately 108 times the sun’s diameter, and in the practice of Japa Yoga 108 beads are used to comprise a mala necklace.
Lifestyle change in the coming of each season may include eating seasonally, cleansing, or introducing positive lifestyle changes. The 108 Sun Salutations is a physical undertaking that joins breath with movement. Heat builds up in the body and can produce a detoxifying effect. Symbolically and physically cleansing the body of the previous season and making room for the new. Also releasing impurities or “Tapas” from the body. The practice of building a natural heat internally through Vinyasa flow is the “Burning of Tapas” or removing of impurities.
Destructive patterns or attachments that are no longer useful are known as Samskaras. Daily Yoga practice is useful on many levels from removing Samskaras to the ability to burn Tapas and reinforce new and useful habits that contribute to a positive healthy lifestyle of mind, body, spirit connection. 108 Sun Salutations during a time of seasonal change empowers the burning of Tapas and removing Samskaras with the power of intention and tradition.
108 Sun Salutations signify transition and change. Setting intentions that range from diet change, life style change, to reinforcing positive habits. Developing a constitution that supports the practice that continues season after season.