108 Sun Salutations: Ritual or Repetitive Injury?

108 repetitions of the sun salutation A series (sun A) has become the go-to yogi event for seasonal transitions. Roughly 10-12 movements make up one set; equating to lots of poses in a short period of time. It’s a challenge for the body and mind (with emphasis on those shoulders and hamstrings). Essentially, 108 events are to yoga what marathons are to running: the ultimate challenge.

Why 108 sun A's? The number “108” is identified as sacred in many wisdom traditions. The justification behind the use of the Sun A series is more obscure, but often boils down to three explanations:

  1. The repetition of postures serves as a ritual.
  2. Sun A is “authentic” or “classical” asana.
  3. Sun A is a challenging aerobic exercise

Let’s unpack these explanations a bit more to see if they're legit.

Ritual: Joseph Campbell identifies ritual as the enactment of a myth that satisfies our desires for power, duty, and pleasure. Many of us are thirsty...

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