When Elevate Community Yoga posted an event titled "108 Sun Salutations - Summer Solstice" I was intrigued, but not ready to sign up.
Could I really do 108 sun salutations in a row? That's a lot of Chaturanga Dandasanas! My muscles felt sore just thinking about it.
But then I was in a different studio, and at the end of the class, I overheard someone talking about the event. He was excited about it, and he said he'd done it before. I wanted to ask questions, but I also didn't want to interrupt. I went home still unsure exactly what I'd be signing up for, but I couldn't forget the feeling of the man's excitement. I knew I had to go and find out what this was all about when I got there.
On the day of the event, I felt a bit nervous. I still had doubts that I could do this. I mean 108!!! But I was also eager with anticipation. This sounded like a powerful mind-body meditation that I may never get to experience again.
Thirty adventurous people joined the event, and we packed our mats into the space in neat rows. We came with the intention of releasing the old and greeting this new season with open hearts and energized bodies.
Our teacher, Kaycie, began by telling us this was a cleansing practice, for both the mind and the body.
Once we got started it was easy to understand why. With each down dog I breathed in deep. With each move forward I breathed out fully. I could feel the cleansing release of all this deep breathing throughout my muscles, organs and tissues.
And because we repeated the same movement over and over, I came into a mystical zone. We all flowed together, on Kaycie's cues, breathing in fully, breathing out fully. Forward, up, reach for the sky, hands to heart center, reach up, forward, back to down dog.
The synching of all our bodies and our breaths was in itself hypnotic. It managed to reach that elusive sweet spot of being relaxing and energizing at the same time. It didn't take long for the sweat to start dripping off me. Forward, back, up, down, forward, back.
I had anticipated my muscles to start burning, and before we started, I had expected I'd take child's pose a few times to make it through.
But as went along, something beyond me was happening. Not only did I not get tired as we moved in this way for over an hour, but I felt like I could do this forever. I have never felt that level of strength and endurance in myself before. It's a feeling I won't soon forget.
Sometimes, I get a glimpse of my true power, whether that be in my mind, my body or my spirit, and it blows me away. That glimpse has kept me going during all the times when I'm stumbling, falling, and seeing only my perceived weaknesses and limitations.
Despite the rhythmic breathing and movements, my mind never completely cleared. It stayed active, and because of this, I didn't realize how deep into this mystical zone I'd gone. I began to wonder how many we'd done, and how many were left.
I guessed we were somewhere around number 70. I thought, okay, I can do 30 more. I got this. I feel good. I feel strong. I feel in the flow. And then, just like, Kaycie called out that we had one more.
I couldn't believe it. How had we done 108 already? How had I done 108? In all, it took about an hour and a half to complete. I cannot imagine, on my own, trying to do sun salutations for an hour and a half. That's bonkers! But in that room, in that divine space we created together, it had felt like no time had passed at all.
Needless to say, I slept like a rock that night. A truly peaceful, deep sleep. I am so grateful I was able to experience 108 sun salutations. I tried to describe the energy and feeling of it all, but now that I'm at the end of the post, I don't think I did that at all.
I suppose that's why we call somethings indescribable. The only way to know is to experience it for yourself. I will try to make this event when it comes up again next year. If you find something like this, I would encourage you to go! You do not have to do every single sun salutation. Many people took child's pose, or sat and meditated, flowing only their arms up and down, during the sequence. This is also another powerful way to enjoy the experience, as listening to your body and honoring where you're at is as important as every down dog not taken.
This event was hosted at Elevate Community Yoga. Photo copyright Kaycie Hall.