Archive for May, 2013

May 30, 2013

Saluting the Sun at Solstice

Ancient Vedic texts place a great deal of importance on showing reverence and respect for the sun. While yoga has developed much in the 3000 years since the Vedas were composed, there is still very much a place for this solar reverence in the modern day yoga practice. We have all done Sun Salutations in class and may, or may not, have thought about the sun’s significance in this beautiful meditative flow, as we move though the postures together.

However, by very definition, this series is an opportunity to attune your body and mind with a sense of honoring the life-giving properties of the sun. The series itself is not documented in ancient texts, but a product of many years of yoga evolution, a relatively new way to express an ancient idea. It is an opportunity to connect with our place in the universe as we raise our arms to the sky and open our hearts to the sun and then bend forward to connect with the life-giving essence of the earth. In more practical terms, it is an opportunity to feel gratitude for things that we often take for granted like the sun above us, the earth below us, the air that we breathe, and by extension, all of the other many blessings in our lives.

From a purely physical perspective, the sun salutation is a wonderful way to move all the muscles and joints in the body, wake up the organs, boost the circulation and balance your Nervous System. It is a pre-set series that you can do any time you have 5 minutes to spare. It can be done quickly, to invigorate, or slowly, with longer held poses, as a balancing meditation. All of these things make it a useful, health-giving tool to pull out when you are traveling, don’t have time for a full class, or just feel like moving on a sunny day out!

On Friday, June 21st, from 6-8am, Shakti Yoga Studio Torbay Road will once again be holding its’ annual early morning welcome to the rising sun on first day of summer with 108 sun salutations. Why 108 you might ask? The significance of the number 108 is open to interpretation however it has long been considered a sacred number in yoga tradition. Vedic mathematicians saw 108 as a number of wholeness of existence. It is thought to connect the Sun, Moon, and Earth: The average distance of the Sun and the Moon to Earth is 108 times their respective diameters. As a result of this significance, you will see this number pop up in many yoga traditions. For example, Yoga malas (garlands of meditation beads) come in a string of 108. We also think 108 is just enough sun salutations to wake you up, warm the body, and to create a sense of having done something significantly different from your regular practice to celebrate the arrival of summer.

So whether you do it to celebrate the birth of summer, with a physical and mental expression of gratitude, or to just challenge your strength and stamina in a fun way, or both, you will leave feeling wide awake, exhilarated and part of the beginning of summer yourself!

By: Bobby Bessey