108 sun salutations is the 5K of yoga—challenging enough to sound compelling but not completely daunting, offering up a sense of accomplishment, and often undertaken in the name of a good cause.
It’s an itch that I, a yoga practitioner for ten years, finally scratched last week at a benefit for Bent on Learning at the Shala. Barbara Verrochi, Kristin Leigh, and Heather Lilleston led a few dozen students—who’d each paid $108 for the privilege—through our 108 salutations as musicians played and the ceiling fans sped to counter the sweaty heat.
Why 108? It’s said there are 108 sacred parts in the body, which correspond to 108 sacred places on earth and the 108 Upanishads (philosophical texts that form the root of Hinduism), explained Litteston. Vedic mathematicians considered 108 to be a “number of the wholeness of existence,” according to Yoga Journal.
I confess I was disappointed when, a week before the benefit, Verrochi announced it wouldn’t be 108 surya namaskars but various simpler modifications. I’d wanted to go all-out. At least 20 were just arms overhead–prayer–arms overhead–down, and 20 more were that plus a forward bend.
But it’s still a whole lot of sun salutations, and many of them included chaturanga or warrior 1.
Around 48 I became very glad they weren’t full-on surya namaskars.
At 54 I thought, “Halfway!”
By 67 I was dreaming of savasana.
Somewhere in the 80s I caught a second wind, having reminded myself how lucky I am to have a body and bank account that let me do this. It was a pretty great savasansa, though. —Ann Abel
Would you do 108 sun salutations? Or have you already (you total stud)? What was it like? Tell us in the Comments, below!