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:

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  1. […] means ‘life’. (It is also a symbol for the number 18, a factor of the auspicious number 108.) ‘Chai’ in many parts of the world, simply means ‘tea’. This warm and […]

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