What does Light mean to you?
When I was a young child, my dearest memory was a bright white light. It was the first thing that I knew. Whenever I needed a reference of time at ages 2, 3, and 4, I would close my eyes and remember the warmth and joy of this light in the beginning. Surrounding the light were blurry faces that emanated love as they looked upon me.
Many years later, I was a teenager in the kitchen with my mom and suddenly this memory popped into my mind. I told her about this light as the first thing that I knew. Stunned, she exclaimed that I was born with Jaundice and I had to be placed in an incubator with a spotlight for up to three days after birth. This phototherapy or light treatment absorbed the light waves into my skin skin and blood to eliminate the excess bilirubin that causes yellow discoloring. Nowadays, parents with newborns that have jaundice are placing their babies near a window to absorb sunlight four times a day for 15 minutes each.
Now, I know light as my hero and source of love. It represents life, energy, joy, purity, and goodness. On the longest days of the year, the light seems to stand still in the sky.
Performing Sun Salutations are an opportunity for us to give thanks to the light in the sky and the light of our life and many blessings.
I remember hearing, at some point throughout my yoga journey, that traditional yogis practice one hundred and eight Sun Salutations on the solstices and equinoxes. This practice is like a marathon of Vinyasa Yoga in which we unify our mind, body, and breathing while also practicing with other yogis around the world. It's a chance to let our inner light shine along with the sun that stands still in the sky.
A Sun Salutation is a sequence of 12 postures in which you move in accordance with your breath.
To begin, stand in Mountain Pose, Tadasana. Inhale as you life your arms up to the sky in Uttitha Tadasana, exhale into a Forward Fold and release the crown of your head down.
Inhale to a Halfway Lift as you roll your shoulders back and exhale as you step your right foot all the way back into a Low Lunge.
With your left knee aligned directly over your ankle, inhale to lengthen your spine and exhale to flow halfway or all the way through Chaturanga, elbows hugging into your body.
Inhale to Upward Facing Dog or Cobra, opening your heart and pressing the tops of your feet into the mat, exhale into Downward Facing Dog, lifting your hips and descending through your heals.
Inhale to step forward with your right foot and exhale into a Forward Fold.
Inhale to Halfway Lift with a long neck and move one toothpick over to the other bowl.
Exhale Fold again. Inhale, reach your arms out wide, press strongly into your feet and reach your arms all the way over your head.
Exhale hand through heart center. Repeat the 12 postures with your left foot stepping back first.
To learn more about how to flow through a Sun Salutation A, check out the first part of my blog on Big Magic and Creativity.
Sun Salutation Sculpture at New Delhi Airport
A few days ago, the idea popped into my head that this is something I should challenge myself with. Just as soon as the inspiration came, so did the voice of fear, "That's a lot! You don't have time for that! What if you injure your sensitive shoulder?"
I recognized this voice and used courage and discipline to overcome it. The night before June 21st, I not only decided to get up at sunrise and do one hundred and eight Sun Salutations, but also to record myself, LIVE. I usually claim to dislike Live videos and they make me uncomfortable, but I knew that this accountability would help to motivate me and possibly encourage others to join in as an offering of peace and unity to the world.
So, why 108?
There are 108 sacred points in the body.
There are 108 Upanishads.
There are 108 energy lines to our heart chakra, anahata.
And relating to the Solstices, the distance of the Sun and Moon to the Earth is 108 times their diameter!!!
I researched how to perform this Mala Method. I broke the Salutations into 12 groups of 9, taking a short break in between. I used toothpicks to count. I placed 9 toothpicks in a small bowl and I would transfer one over at a time to the small bowl on the other side. Then in another bowl I had 12 pink toothpicks that represented the completion of 9. If you decide to join me on the next equinox or solstice, please modify as much as you need to and listen to your body.
Let your light shine🌟, and make an offering of peace and unity!
You can follow along on the Facebook video too.
Namaste and have a wonderfully joyful season of light 💛!
To learn more about the Summer Solstice and yoga philosophy, check out my blog about the Crown Circles of Summer Solstice at Stonehendge.
Hannah seeks to find relationships between nature, cultures, yoga, and art through her writing.
My Paintings are now on Yoga Pants!
Fun Yoga in the Park
Travel the world with me through yoga!
These themed lessons are fun for all ages and levels at Mission Bay Park.
See the page, Park Yoga, for more information!
Lessons from Abroad