WHY 108?

It has become something of a tradition in some yoga circles to perform 108 sun salutations at the change of each season and on the longest and shortest day of the year (the winter and summer solstice). Completing 108 sun salutations is challenging enough to sound compelling but not completely daunting. Yogathon, 108 Sun Salutation, offers the perfect opportunity to experience the energy created by participating in this challenging but easily accomplished practice.

But 108 is a lot of Sun Salutations. It begs the question, why would you do 108 of them?

108 has been a sacred number for a long time, and this number is explained in many different ways. The number 108 has a variety of historical, spiritual, scientific, mathematical, and symbolic meanings. Here are a few:

CULTURAL AND SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE

CHINESE
The Chinese Buddhists and Taoists use a 108 bead mala, which is called su-chu, and has three dividing beads, so the mala is divided into three parts of 36 each.

In Chinese astrology, the Tao philosophy holds that there are 108 sacred stars.

HINDUISM
A mala is an eastern rosary with 108 beads. The mala is used both in Hinduism and Buddhism for counting mantras, chants or prayers.

There are 108 forms of dance in the Indian traditions.

There are 12 zodiac signs and 9 planets. As the 9 planets move through the 12 signs, their positions affect us either negatively or positively. Chanting the Om Namah Shivaya 108 times (12 x 9 = 108 duh!), nullifies any negative effects and enhances positive effects of the planets on us!

BUDDHISM
In the Theravada Buddha Footprint tradition, there are considered to have been 108 marks on Buddha’s left foot when his body was discovered.

There are 108 names for Buddha.

ISLAM
The number 108 is used in Islam to refer to God.

MATHEMATICAL SIGNIFICANCE

The angle formed by two adjacent lines in a pentagon equals 108 degrees.

108 is the product of the Powers of 1, 2 and 3, which was thought to have special numerological significance:
1 to 1st power=1;
2 to 2nd power=4 (2×2);
3 to 3rd power=27 (3x3x3).
1 x 4 x 27 = 108

The diameter of the sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth.