108 sun salutations

The Ritual of 108 and Surya Namaskar

On March 18, a group of yogis and yoginis gathered at Mountain Yoga in the Oakland hills to celebrate the Spring Equinox through the ritual of 108 surya namaskar or sun salutations.

This intensive traditional practice builds inner heat, harmonizes breath and motion, and brings a meditative state of mind. The practice serves as a kind of “spring cleaning” to remove negative energy accumulated over the winter months and prepare for the positive growing energy of spring and summer.

Why 108 Sun Salutations?

There are many reasons for the significance of the number 108 in the practice of surya namaskar. The 54 letters of the Sanskrit alphabet each have their masculine and feminine qualities (54 x 2 = 108).

Krishna is said to have 108 gopis (maidservants). The diameter of the sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. There are 12 houses and nine planets in astrology (12 x 9 = 108).

The Journey of 108 Surya Namaskar

The ritual of the 108 surya namaskar can be compared to a mala with its 108 beads for counting prayers.

Shlomit Revzen, who led the Spring Equinox practice at Mountain Yoga along with Mark Kenward, suggested that the practice is like a journey with four oarsmen representing the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual aspects.

The intention is to coax those oarsmen to cooperate with the supportive energy of the group.

The Experience of 108 Surya Namaskar

Each cycle of the surya namaskar consists of 12 poses performed with asana and breath synchronized in continuous repetition. The group began with a slow set for warming up but then moved to a more rapid pace.

The energy created by the group in motion was palpable. With the completion of each cycle, practitioners found themselves renewed and able to carry on.

A specially created CD by Edna Davidson was played, eliminating the need for counting the cycles and using mellifluous sounds to motivate the practitioners without distracting them.

The Benefits of 108 Surya Namaskar

The practice of 108 surya namaskar has many benefits for the body, mind, and spirit. It increases physical stamina and flexibility while also reducing stress and anxiety. Practitioners report a sense of mental clarity and calmness.

The practice also helps to develop concentration, focus, and willpower.


In conclusion, the practice of 108 surya namaskar is a powerful way to celebrate the Spring Equinox and prepare for the growing energy of spring and summer.

The ritual carries many spiritual and symbolic meanings and provides many benefits for the body, mind, and spirit.

The group energy creates a powerful sense of community and support, making the journey of 108 surya namaskar an unforgettable experience.

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