The Great 108

September 18, 2012 at 9:45 am 9 comments

Last night was a doozy (I’ve never actually spelled that word before) of a yoga class. Four times a year, on the Monday closest to the solstices and equinoxes, my teacher Jen holds a Great 108 class, where we do 108 Ashtanga vinyasa sun salutations to celebrate the changing of the seasons. This is the full series.

Picture source

Why 108? This is some information I found from the Yoga Journal:

The number’s significance is open to interpretation. But 108 has long been considered a sacred number in Hinduism and yoga. Traditionally, malas, or garlands of prayer beads, come as a string of 108 beads (plus one for the “guru bead,” around which the other 108 beads turn like the planets around the sun). A mala is used for counting as you repeat a mantra—much like the Catholic rosary.
Renowned mathematicians of Vedic culture viewed 108 as a number of the wholeness of existence. This number also connects the Sun, Moon, and Earth: The average distance of the Sun and the Moon to Earth is 108 times their respective diameters. Such phenomena have given rise to many examples of ritual significance.
According to yogic tradition, there are 108 pithas, or sacred sites, throughout India. And there are also 108 Upanishads and 108 marma points, or sacred places of the body.

So clearly there’s a lot behind the meaning and it is always a great class. I sweat buckets and feel so light and detoxed afterward. Yesterday was my 3rd time doing it and each time I can see how I’m getting stronger, but boy, it’s so hard! We do the salutations in groups of 20, with a one minute silent rest in between, and the last 8 salutations are dedicated to a different intention that you pick (love, acceptance, etc.).

For the first 25-30 salutations I felt really good. The practice was making me really happy and I had a big smile on my face. After about 30 I started getting fatigued. The 40-80 salutations were the hardest. That’s when my shoulders start burning from the chaturangas and when my wrists started really hurting and it felt never ending. But I just kept breathing and trying to hold my form and get through it. There were times where I was in such a trance I had to look at others to see what they were doing because I didn’t know where we were in the series, and there were times where I was positive I couldn’t do anymore but just had to beat the mental game. The last 28 were still physically tough but I was buoyed by knowing they were almost over and I was about to finish another Great 108. And I did!

Today my hamstrings are sore from the lunging and forward folds, my shoulders are pretty tight, but my arms feel okay. They will probably be really sore tomorrow. I am getting a Thai massage tonight so hopefully that will help. I still need to write about my first one, too. Hint: it’s awesome and you should go get one.

On a running note, we had a super busy weekend and I didn’t get any running in, and today is a rest day but I plan on getting out there tomorrow morning for one of my two last training runs before the Color Me Rad this weekend. Stay tuned, and namaste.


Entry filed under: Yoga. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Picking a Half Marathon: Part 2 Review: Thai Massage

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Review: Thai Massage « Ch'I Journey  |  September 19, 2012 at 9:23 am

    […] night was my second appointment and we might have made progress were it not for the Great 108. As I mentioned yesterday, my hamstrings were really tight, so a lot of the work she did on my legs […]

  • 2. 65tomoonlight  |  September 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    congrats on finishing..

    • 3. Steph  |  September 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      Thanks Mom!

  • 4. grackleandsun  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:45 am


    • 5. Steph  |  September 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      I know. :)

  • 6. Jane Fritz  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Re the 108, yikes. Better you than me! :)

    • 7. Steph  |  September 18, 2012 at 3:41 pm

      Haha, fair enough!

  • 8. John  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:12 am

    I fancy running a Color Me Rad but I dont think they run them in the UK?

    • 9. Steph  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:18 am

      I’m not sure John. I’ve also heard of another similar race called The Color Run. Maybe you should start one up?!


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