The 2014 Spring Equinox fell on Thursday, March 20 this year, but my yoga studio held the traditional 108 Sun Salutations celebration on Friday 21.
We’re flexible like that.
Anyway, this was my first 108 Sun Salutations event. I attended the Winter Solstice event, but my instructor had a different Surya Namaskar event planned for that one.
Like I said, we can get flexible.
So, I was extremely excited — and anxious — to participate in the 108 Spring Equinox Sun Salutations.
Excited because as a yogi who’d yet to participate, this was a big deal for me.
Anxious because, well, as a yogi who’d yet to participate, this was a big deal for me!
I was also a little nervous I wouldn’t make it through the entire 108, so most of my focus was on my physical body.
Could my arms handle all the downward dogs?
Could my legs jump back and then up again that many times?
What about my shoulders? Exactly how many chaturangas can they withstand?
Fortunately, my yoga instructor showed us several Sun Salutation variations so we could adapt based on experience levels and outright preference levels. There was no one correct version in our class, and I was able to mix-and-match and find the best Sun Salutation versions for me.
However, once that was established, I quickly realized it wasn’t my physical body I should’ve been concerned about; it was the mental depths the practice — this practice — would go.
As stated, yogis (traditionally) perform 108 Sun Salutations to welcome the new seasons, which we did; however, my instructor asked us to break these 108 into 3 parts of 36.
That’s 3 sections of 36 Sun Salutations.
The method to her madness?
- 1st 36: We were to focus on a person or event from our past that’s holding us back from living the life we want.
- 2nd 36: We were to focus on some aspect of our present life that’s not serving us, and letting go of that person, idea, feeling, etc.
- 3rd 36: We were to focus on letting go of the grasp (or, in some cases, death grip) we have on what we believe our future is supposed to hold for us.
THAT’S what made the 108 Sun Salutations challenging. Even though I’m STILL sore, it hasn’t been the physical exercise that’s stuck around; it’s been the mental focus on what I need to let go and practice of letting go.
So, we welcomed the new earthly season as well as potential new seasons in our lives.
I’m won’t pretend I spent the entire practice having major life-altering epiphanies. Focusing on these aspects was just one part of my Spring Equinox celebration. I also spent it trying not to slap into my neighbor, moving from one posture to the next without injuring myself, letting my mind relax while my body took over, and sweating my ass off.
I will say, however, that zoning in on these aspects has, in some ways, already been life altering for me.
At this point, I’d ask you if you participated in the 108 Sun Salutations for the Spring Equinox, but you’d might either think or type “yes” or “no” and move on.
Instead, I want to ask you about YOUR 1st, 2nd, and 3rd focuses? You might have adapted the same or a similar practice during your Salutations; if so, what were your focuses? If you didn’t — or even if you don’t practice yoga — what WOULD you focus on?
Coincidentally (or perhaps not), all my focuses were related; that doesn’t means yours will or should be.
What would and can you let go from your past? What’s not serving your present? What ideal future is actually holding you back?
Share your focuses with us in the comments below 🙂