yoga

108 Sun Salutations for Fall Equinox

Happy Fall Equinox! In some yoga circles, it is a ritual to celebrate the changes of seasons—the autumnal and vernal equinox, and the summer and winter solstice—by doing 108 Sun Salutations. This practice is most often done in large groups and often as an offering, such as an offering of peace or unity. However, you can do these in the comfort of your own home with videos I created to guide you (linked below). But first, what exactly are Sun Salutations?

Surya Namaskar (Sanskrit for Sun Salutation) is a series of yoga poses done in a continuous, flowing sequence, intended to improve the strength and flexibility of muscles. Sun Salutations are an excellent way for hikers to warm up and stretch their body. You can benefit with just a few rounds before any workout or hike.

For a complete cardio workout, challenge yourself to do 108 Sun Salutations upon the change of seasons.

Why 108?

Number 108 carries spiritual significance throughout a wide swathe of cultures:

* 108 is the number of the Upanishads, sacred treatises comprising Vedic texts with some of the central philosophical concepts of Hinduism.
* 108 is the number of names for Shiva (a really important Hindu god).
* 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 the number of beads on a Tibetan mala (prayer beads, analogous to a rosary).
* 108 is two times fifty-four, which is the number of sounds in Sanskrit (an ancient language of India).
* 108 is six times eighteen, which is a Jewish good luck number.
* 108 is twelve times nine, which is the number of vinyasas (movements linked to breath) in a Sun Salutation. i

Below is a video of 36 Half Salutations that I recorded at the UC Berkeley campus. See, you don’t need a mat. You can even do it barefoot, and in regular clothes. You get the idea, you can do these anytime, anywhere.

In this video, I guide you through 36 half salutations, which you can do three times to add up to 108, or you can do it once as a warm-up for the next two rounds of 36 sun salutations.

When walking the Camino, I would start each day with a few rounds of half salutations to warm my body up, and I truly believe that they helped prevent injuries.

Half Salutations: Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Begin in Mountain Pose.
  2. Inhale and raise your arms stretched above your head
  3. Exhale and bend your knees slightly, folding forward with your back straight, lowering your hands to touch the ground on either side of your feet (Forward Fold Position).
  4. Inhale halfway up, chest forward. Look forward.
  5. Exhale and lower your head back to forward fold.
  6. Inhale with a straight back, slowly bringing your arms up above your head.
  7. Exhale and return to the starting position (Mountain Pose).

Below is the video for part 2 for the next 36 salutations, which is more challenging because it includes Chaturangas (Yogi style push-ups),
Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward dog), and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (upward facing dog). You will definitely work up a sweat and feel every muscle in your body lengthened and strengthened. Have water nearby, and pause the video if you need to take a break. Remember to let each inhale and exhale guide every movement so it becomes a moving meditation.

Ready to move on? For this last set of 36 Sun Salutations, I have added a variety of poses. While most of these aren’t traditional sun salutations, they are linked together in the style of salutations. Some favorite standing poses are included, such as Warriors 1 & 2, Triangle, Side Angle, Pyramid, Revolved Side Angle, and Pigeon pose near the end. Always remember to match the breath with every movement to keep it flowing. Go at your own pace, take a break if needed, and have water nearby. 

If you are a purist and prefer to just do 108 of the classic Surya Namaskar, the steps are below. I just wanted to offer three levels of intensity— starting with half, then full, and rounding it out with a variety of my favorite yoga pose— to provide a more thorough workout.

12 Position Sun Salutations: Step-by-Step Instructions

yoga-sun-salutation

Come to a relaxed standing position, with your arms at your sides and your feet together. Breathe deeply through the nose and match each breath with a movement, per the 12 steps below.

  1. When ready, bring your palms together at your chest, thumbs resting against the sternum (Mountain Pose). Exhale.
  2. Inhale and stretch your arms above your head, shoulders back and pelvis forward (slight backward bend in your spine) (Forward Salute Pose).
  3. Exhale and bend your knees slightly, folding forward with your back straight, lowering your hands to touch the mat on either side of your feet (Forward Fold Pose).
  4. Inhale and move your right foot back, knee touching the floor (Lunge).
  5. In pause between breaths, move your left foot back, both knees on the floor (or into Plank Pose).
  6. Exhale and lower your chest and nose to the mat (Chaturanga Dandasana or Four-Limbed Staff Pose).
  7. Inhale and lower pelvis while pushing the chest up, arms straight and shoulders back (Cobra Pose).
  8. Exhale and raise your tailbone, straightening your arms and legs, pushing your chest toward your thighs and your heels toward the ground (Downward-Facing Dog).
  9. Inhale and bring your right foot forward again, left knee to the ground (Lunge).
  10. Exhale and bring your feet together, hands on the floor on either side of your feet (Forward Fold Position).
  11. Inhale and with a straight back, slowly bring your hands up above your head, shoulders back, pelvis forward (Forward Salute Pose).
  12. Exhale and return to the starting position (Mountain Pose).
i“Why 108?” Source:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/lauren-cahn/get-in-shape-for-108-108_b_142973.html

1 thought on “108 Sun Salutations for Fall Equinox”

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