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Why 108? Significance In Yoga and Science

in Neato, YD News

It’s been a tradition in some yoga circles to practice 108 Sun Salutations, often times to signify something special like kicking off the start of a new year, letting go of the old one or celebrating the solstice. Whether you’ve got blisters on your toes from 108 Salutes or are just curious, here are a few fun facts and interesting reasons why 108 has significance.

Significance of 108:

  • 108 beads on a mala. The number holds significance (as does 9: 8+1=9) in the Hindu tradition.
  • Sanskrit alphabet: There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti. 54 times 2 is 108.
  • Time: Some say there are 108 feelings, with 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future.
  • Astrology: There are 12 constellations, and 9 arc segments called namshas or chandrakalas. 9 times 12 equals 108. Chandra is moon, and kalas are the divisions within a whole.
  • Planets and Houses: In astrology, there are 12 houses and 9 planets. 12 times 9 equals 108.
  • Sun and Earth: The diameter of the sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth.
  • Moon and Earth: The average distance of the Moon from the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Moon.

More 108 fun facts here and here.

Also, a few more little known facts:

  • 108 seconds is the time it takes for a yogi to scan the room and decide who the ‘hotties’ are.
  • Yogis should wash their mats after 108 uses, at least. ew.
  • It takes 108 tries to even start to understand the mechanics of bakasana.

[image via]

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7 comments… add one

  • Hui

    Love it. Knew the first point but not the rest.
    Agree with all the “little known” facts though :P I lol’d at the hottie scanning… doesn’t really work if your studio is predominantly female!

  • me

    Ha! I saw 108, and I’m a Lost geek, so the first thing that came to mind were the “numbers” and the count-down clock in the hatch :)

  • Any following this ever do 108 Salutes? How long does it take? I have a birthday coming up. I may try it that morning.

  • Deva Premal says that the 108 mala beads, and therefore 108 repetitions of a mantra correspond with the number of times necessary to resonate the mantra through all the energy paths of the body. Since there are thousands of nadis, this would presumably mean 108 chakras that get the vibration of the mantra and allow it to travel through the entire energy system.

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