A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to participate in a 108 Sun Salutation class at my favorite yoga studio.
The number 108 has many important and symbolic meanings in diverse disciplines ranging from mathematics to religions and spiritual practices, martial arts and yoga.
Here are a few examples:
- A Japa mala (or Mala) refers to prayer beads customarily used in both Buddhism and Hinduism. Recitations of prayers, mantras and chants are counted bead by bead on Malas. Buddhist malas traditionally have 108 beads, said to signify the 108 human passions that Avalokiteshvara assumed when ‘telling the beads’.
- In mathematics: 1 to 1st power = 1; 2 to 2nd power = 4 (2x2); 3 to 3rd power = 27 (3x3x3). 1x4x27 = 108
- 108 is a Harshad number, which is an integer divisible by the sum of its digits (Harshad is a Sanskrit word that means "great joy"). Yes, it’s 12 for the math whizzes out there.
- There are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to and from Anahata, the heart chakra.
- There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti. 54 times 2 is 108.
- It would take the distance of 108 times traveling around the earth to reach the equivalent distance from the earth to the sun.
Here I am nearing the end (which took about an hour & 45 minutes), reaching to the sun [photo taken by another student in class]. We kept count by dropping a dried chick pea into a glass bowl after every salute. Can you imagine trying to remember what rep you were on otherwise??? LOL yeahh…. Good luck with that.
Ahhhh… the power & wisdom behind repetitious movement.
For me, this definitely transformed into a moving meditation & felt more mentally challenging than physically, no doubt.
We each went at our own pace & followed the rhythm of breathing in, breathing out, with every pose.
One glaring insight: I definitely dominate on my right side.
My biggest take-away: Stay conscious of balancing out my muscular imbalances by alternating left lead/right lead in EVERYTHING I do.
Whether that be how I pick up a dumbbell, which side I carry my handbag or which foot leads first when walking up a flight of stairs.
Which brings me to the point: Repetition is how our body can either improve by leaps & bounds or radically deteriorate depending on the behaviors we take on.
When your joint alignment is spot on, your lifting, kickboxing & cycling activities (for example) will show you continuous improvement.
This week’s video is calling attention to who you receive coaching from because HOW you perform repetitious movement can make or break you.
Be sure to seek out trainers & instructors that give you the HOW, not just the “do push ups & watch me” approach - which is (unfortunately) most of what I find on the YouTube.
When there is no focus on how the move is performed, & instead the trainer just says “drop & give me 20!” skipping over the way it’s done correctly, or modifying the moves, you’re in for trouble & struggle.
Share your fave coaches & trainers with me! Is there someone you follow who helps you understand how to do your exercises correctly? I’d love to hear about them. Post below!