The summer solstice is coming on June 20. This is a moment when the Sun reaches its zenith in the Northern Hemisphere, marking the start to summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the start to winter in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Sun is a force essential to all life on earth. In one way or another, every living being is dependent on the Sun for life.
For example, consider your breath. If you really think about it, your breath nourishes you because the Sun nourishes the trees, who respire, creating the air you breathe. If you consider food, you’ll find the same is true, as the Sun nourishes the plants that make up most (if not all) of the human diet.
The Sun is important in many other ways as well, serving as the basis for time itself (days, years, calendars), as well as dictating the role of the seasons, growing cycles, and climates we find ourselves in.
Traditionally, the summer solstice is a day when yoga practitioners move through 108 sun salutes. This is one of the key astrological moments of the year.
It may seem obvious why sun salutes are practiced (we are offering gratitude and greetings to the sun), but why 108?
108 is a sacred number for so many reasons.
These reasons are too numerous to list here, but a few of my favorites are:
There are 108 nadis (energy channels in the body) that merge in the heart chakra
There are 9 traditional planets and 12 zodiac signs. 9 x 12 = 108
The Matrika Malini (Sanskrit alphabet) has 54 letters, each with a masculine and feminine vibration. 54 + 54 = 108
Traditional malas (meditation beads) have 108 beads
In numerology, 108 relates to the number 9, which symbolizes spiritual fulfillment. It also contains 1, the number of focus and unity; 0, the number of the potentiality of the divine in any moment; and 8, the number of strength and yoking the body and higher mind together as one
There are 108 names for god in yoga
So this summer solstice, I invite you to do 108 sun salutes. If 108 seems like a lot, you can also simply practice 9 sun salutes. There are 12 postures in a sun salute, and 9 x 12 = 108
One thing is certain, a regular practice consisting of several sun salutes will super charge not only your solstice, but your entire summer season!
This has been a Guest Post by Emily Ridout, AstroYoga Specialist, Yoga and Astrology Teacher