The Significance of 108 in Yogic Traditions and Why We Practice 108 Sun Salutations

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Do you have a favorite number? Have you ever thought about how interesting it is that certain numbers can have different "vibes," or make you feel certain ways? Numbers can have embedded meanings, and the number 108 just happens to be significant across cultures, practices, ideologies, and religions.

What's Special About 108?

The number 108 is considered to be a sacred number in Hindu, Jainist, Buddist, and yogic traditions. In the ancient Vedic tradition in India, Vedic mathematicians believed 108 to represent the all-encompassing wholeness of the universe, and represent humanity's relationship with the world and universe around us.

You'll see 108 pop up around the yoga community often, and there are connections in many unexpected places. Here are a few:

  • There are typically 108 beads on a mala necklace

  • It's said that the sun's diameter is 108 times the distance between the earth and the sun (although this number is approximate)

  • In astrology, there are 12 constellations and 9 arcs (12x9=108)

  • There are 108 attendants of Shiva (the Hindu god known as "The Destroyer")

  • In Buddhism, there are 108 earthly temptations one must overcome to achieve Nirvana

  • Stonehenge is 108 feet in diameter

  • There are 108 energy lines (nadis) that converge to form the Heart Chakra

The number 108 is also related to the Golden Ratio and perfect circles and, mathematically, there are many different formulas and functions that can be performed on 108.

All of that to say, 108 is a deeply rooted and significant number. There are connections beyond what I've touched on here, and researching the number yields extremely interesting results.

Why We Practice 108 Sun Salutations

Let me start by saying this practice, while seemingly simple, is not necessarily easy. However, the practice has the potential to become a sacred one depending on what kind of energy you bring to it.

108 Sun Salutations is most often practiced at the start of a new season to help your brain and body refocus and reset for what the universe has coming up for you. It's a way to exhaust your body so your divine energy can connect with its source.

This practice also allows you to create or hone in on an intention for the coming chapter of your life. So often we think we can only start over in a new year, a new month, or a new week, but the truth is we have all the power of a fresh start within us always! The 108 Sun Salutations practice helps us to realize that and really tap into it.

Whether it's at the studio or on your own, I highly recommend giving this practice a shot and connecting yourself with the rhythm of the universe. You won't regret it!

Morgan Casavant