The group of us after we finished/survived 108 Sun Salutations…..
Most of us who practice yoga hear at some point about the practice of completing 108 Sun Salutations during the seasonal equinox and solstices. Before I became a yoga teacher, I heard about these offerings and saw them offered at various studios, but I had not completed a session like this. To be honest, I had somewhat intentionally avoided it. I avoided it partly because it sounded difficult and as if the days that followed would be painful and sore.
However, after practicing yoga daily for years and teaching yoga for more than a year, it seemed that I really needed to experience this practice and that I wanted to do so in community with others. I always love the energy of a studio class and knew that a class like this would probably benefit even more from the spirit of community.
This past summer solstice (2018) I happened to find myself in Houston, Texas, visiting family. Again, in full transparency, I was still somewhat on the fence in my commitment to completing these 108 salutations, so I said that since Houston was so big, I would see what studios in the area where celebrating the summer solstice and then see how far they were from where we were staying. I thought that would probably give me a safe out, that it just wouldn’t work with our schedule because of the distance and timing, etc.
Well, I did the investigating and found a studio who advertised they were doing 108 sun salutations in the evening. I checked the address, typed both the studio’s and our location’s addresses into Google Maps, and wouldn’t you know — the studio was less than half a mile from where we were. It was a four minute drive. I could have even walked there!
I knew, then, that I had no choice but to sign up. My time had come to complete 108 sun salutations. I was somewhat excited, somewhat worried. The studio I had found was close by, but it was a heated studio. I do not always do well in heated environments due to migraines (heat is a major trigger for me). But I was going to go and do my best to enjoy the challenge, find my edge, but honor my body.
I checked in and walked into the studio. The heat was definitely intense, but I had arrived a few minutes early to try and allow myself time to acclimate, to spend 10 minutes or so in meditation to prepare. When the class started, I felt ready.
The energy in the room was fantastic. It seemed to match the energy I brought with me — excitement but anxious excitement, as if many of us wondered how we would do, with the energy of summer and the possibilities.
We kept a pretty quick pace with the sun salutations, and the instructor cued us through salutations facing the front of the room as well as facing the back. It was hot. It was hard. In forward fold I was pretty sure that I could see each individual pore’s bead of sweat on my legs. The sweat dripped from my face onto the mat. I kept going.
I added my own variety to the sun salutations, sometimes practicing chataranga to updog, sometimes baby cobra to child’s pose. It flowed organically from me. I wasn’t thinking; my body was just moving through the salutations as it needed.
We took one break halfway through, and I remember having my first thought in quite a while — “WOW, I’m halfway through. I am doing this.”
I only remember one other thought in the practice, toward the end when she said we were on our last round, having just returned to facing the front of the room. I realized I was going to do it. I had a rush of new strength and energy and had goose bumps in this very, very hot and humid studio. It was exhilarating, and I almost cried as I completed the last one.
The savasana was one of the best in my life.
When I got up from my mat I felt amazing and that I was a bad ass yogi.
When I looked at my mat, I saw an impression of myself left on my mat in sweat. It was amazing to see because of how much sweat it had to be to leave such a detailed outline of me. It was also moving to see because it really did feel like I was coming up off of my mat a little bit changed from who I had been when I stepped onto the mat that evening. I had done it. I had met myself on my mat in a new way.
I was sore the next day (and the day after that). I had a migraine the next day, despite my best attempts to re-hydrate and cool down after class.
But I will go back. I will do it again, not just because I know I can, but because I know that next time I will meet myself even more, and I’m excited to learn more about this bad ass yogi within me.
Check out my mat when I was done! I look like I evaporated/melted into my mat 🙂
What yoga challenge would you like to tackle or attempt? Let me know; maybe it’s something more of us need to attempt with you! I am always looking for good ideas and ways to share yoga. Send me your requests!
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