108 Blessings


Many yoga studios offer 108 Sun Salutations classes around the Equinoxes. What’s the significance of 108 and why would anyone want to do that many flows in a row?!

I love that the Wikipedia article defines 108 as “the natural number following 107 and preceding 109”. It is that, indeed, but it is so much more.

Think of 108 as embodying the nature of the universe: 1 is The One, God, The Universe; 0 is nothingness, emptiness, completeness; 8 is everything, infinity (there’s our old friend again). We are all of this simultaneously.

The number 108 holds significance in many different cultures and religions, threading through Hinduism, Buddhism, and other eastern traditions like a mala necklace—which, incidentally, contains 108 beads.

The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. The distance from the Sun to the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Sun. The average distance of the Moon from the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Moon. The diameter of Stonehenge is approximately 108 feet. The number 108 is used in Islam to refer to God. In astrology, there are 12 houses and 9 planets; 12 times 9 equals 108. The sacred River Ganga spans a longitude of 12 degrees (79 to 91), and a latitude of 9 degrees (22 to 31); 12 times 9 equals 108. The angle formed by two adjacent lines in a pentagon equals 108 degrees. Just Google it. The list goes on and on…

The power of 108 came home to me when I received my first paycheck for teaching meditation, and it was for $108. It was wonderful confirmation that when you align with your highest purpose, everything flows. When you know yourself as an individual aspect of God, then infinite blessings cannot help but flow.

Performing 108 sun salutations is a type of offering. The devotion and repetition to the flow of asana, particularly when done as a group, generates energy and helps put you in touch with the essence of 108—the interconnectedness of all. Connecting with this energy at the natural stillpoints in the year around the Equinoxes is a great way to contemplate the ever turning wheel of life. I participated in 108 Sun Salutations in 2011. One word: SORE (but happy).

Contemplate 108 in your own way, in meditation, counting mala beads, doing 108 sun salutations, or beginning to see this sacred number appear in your daily life. I’d love to hear how the results show up in your own life!


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