DAY 2 – Why 108?

Day 2 in the bag!

I am super enthusiastic! (Duh, it’s only Day 2…)

Nevertheless, I am thrilled and I am inspired to hear that some of you wonderful people are embarking on your own challenge. Mary Ann, my yoga student of five years and a soon graduate of my teaching apprenticeship program, is doing 36 sun salutations a day, and partner Craig announced to me last night that he will be doing 108 push-ups and sit-ups everyday. (He is currently huffing and puffing away them at in the front office.)

My day and practice went great. This morning, I did 18 sun sals by myself and then 18 with my very determined 83-year-old powerhouse of a student, Max. I completed the next 36 in my studio with Bossa, a dear friend and fabulous yogini, who is in today’s video. Mary Ann, the aforementioned student, requested a practice of 27 to complete her set, which we did after meditation with my Core Vinyasa class. I joined the 7:30pm class for my last nine.

So far, the response to my crazy 108 mission is awesome, although I know there are more than a few friends and students who are questioning my sanity. Over scrambled eggs at brunch today, my old ashtangi friend, Jamie Lee, expressed his concern over me missing out on back bends, if I am only to do sun sals for next three and a half months. He has a point, so I made sure to do a bunch of arches within my sets this afternoon and will have to leave time for some Urdhva Dhanurasanas and inversions at the end of my practice tomorrow.

Now the answer to the big question: why 108?

1 = divine power, 0 = the space that holds everything together, and 8 = the symbol of infinity.

108 is also a number that repeats itself in numerous cultures and spiritual traditions. In the yoga world 108 is considered a very auspicious number, which is why the Hindu and Buddhist malas (prayer beads) from 108 beads. Here are some more 108 ‘fun facts’:

  • 108 is the number of Upanishads comprising the Indian Vedic texts
  • 108 is the number of names for the God Shiva in Hindu philosophy.
  • 108 is the number of names for Buddha.
  • 108 is the Chinese number representing “man”.
  • 108 is the number of beads on a Catholic rosary.
  • 108 is six times the number “18” which is a good luck number in Judaism.
  • 108 is nine times 12, two auspicious numbers in Indian culture.
  • 108 is number to call in India for emergency services (as opposed to 911)
  • 108 is the number of suitors had by Penelope wife of Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey.
  • Distance between earth and sun equals 108 times the sun-diameter.
  • Distance between earth and moon equals 108 times the moon-diameter.
  • 108 times the earth diameter is the diameter of the sun
  • 108 is the number of stitches on a baseball!

Wikipedia offers more details:

Day 1 – THE MISSION: 108 Sun Salutations in 108 Days

Hello WORLD! I am Yasmin Fudakowska-Gow. I am a yoga teacher and 28-year-old Montrealer. I have been teaching yoga for almost a decade. I am the owner of a holistic centre called Om West located in Pointe Claire Village, about 25km west of downtown Montreal. I am also an artist, a writer, a video producer, and an activist. I live in Mile End.

Since last December, I have the dream of completing 108 Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) for 108 consecutive days. YES!

The purpose of this mission is to, first, celebrate my14 years of yoga practice and to experience an amazing transformation. Second, I want to bring the yoga community together in celebration as ONE. Together, I see us yoga teachers, students and studio owners thriving and I see us inspiring more people to reconnect with their trueness and live their passion.

Starting today (April 18, 2010), the 108th day of the year, I am doing 108 Surya Namaskar every day until Aug 3, 2010. I did my first 36 sun salutations with a full-house of students in a workshop entitled Live the Life you LOVE, which I led this weekend at my studio with I AM coach Ron Chérlius. I completed the remaining 72 in my kitchen while my boyfriend Craig made vegetable soup.

I am ready and I am excited about the next 107 days! I have been training for this. To date, I had done six days straight, nine days, 12 days and most recently, 23 days. I have experimented with different methods and I have already learned a lot about how to sustain my stamina and how to keep myself motivated. I am excited. I am confident. Each of these 108 practices can take up to three hours, depending on who I practice with, how focused I am, how much energy I have and how creative I feel, but I am prepared. My plan is to do the 108 sun salutations in three sets of 36, although when time permits, I will do the whole series in one shot.

Now, I am inviting you to join me.

I am posting this blog in order to share this journey with you, and to encourage you to set your own daily challenge, be it sun salutations, push ups, eating fresh salads, writing poetry, playing music, gardening, completing a cross-word, running, knitting, etc. Whatever is pleasurable and healing for you, I invite you to commit yourself to it for a certain period of time everyday starting whenever you say “GO!”

Lastly, I want you to share your story, your questions, and your suggestions with me here.

If it’s yoga or sun salutations you want to do, on this blog (in writing, photos and/or video), I will provide you with tips on how to practice safely, how to stay inspired and I am posting a different version of Surya Namaskar to keep it interesting. Here’s one from today:

Surya Namaskar Recipe – DAY 1
The Half-Salute (2 = 1, a good opener)
1- Standing at the top of your mat, INHALE and raise your arms over head.
2- Stabilizing your legs and without locking your knees, EXHALE and fold forward, bring your hands to the floor or you to your shins.
3- Keeping your spine long, INHALE, and rise half way.
4- EXHALE down into the forward bend.
5- Pressing down through your feet, INHALE and rise to standing, taking your arms up and overhead.
6- EXHALE and bring the hands down in front of your heat in prayer position
7- Repeat once more to equal one full Sun Salutation