Yesterday I did 108 Sun Salutations with about a dozen other women at Shakti Yoga Shop. It was challenging, but went by surprisingly fast. One of the first things we asked was the significance of 108. The answer took up about 3 pages, and included–
- the number of beads on a Japa Mala, the beads used to count mantra repetitions during meditation
- the 108 suitors of Penelope, Odysseus’ wife; check out “The Penelopiad,” Margaret Atwood’s take on a wifely perspective of the Odyssey
- The average distance of the Sun and the Moon to Earth is 108 times their respective diameters.
…which brings us back to saluting the sun. Winter solstice is less than 2 weeks behind us. It is my favorite day of the year: it marks the day when daylight begins to lengthen. I can only imagine our earliest forbears watching the dwindling light and heat, fearing it was the end of the world, developing ceremonies and bargains to make the sun return for a year.
We continue many of those traditions around the holidays. Lighting candles, bringing in greenery, putting up Christmas lights. On this first day — 1/1/11, I hope for a lighter year, for peaceful, brighter days. I hope for clarity on the problems facing our planet. Perhaps by saluting the sun, still the source of life, we can perhaps begin to mend the earth.