My Yoga Marathon


While most are still fast asleep, my alarm goes off at 5am ready for my yoga marathon.  It’s not technically a yoga marathon, I’ve just called it that because I think it’s going to take a long time.

This morning, I’m welcoming the Spring Equinox with 108 rounds of Sun Salutation.

My intentions for the session is to have a ‘spring clean’ of my body and mind and get excited that the summer is on its way.

Colette, our yoga teacher, had an effective method for remembering how many rounds we did, which was great considering I’m rubbish at counting when I exercise.
She gave us a piece of paper with 108 squares on, 9 squares/rounds repeated over 12 lines, and suggested we dedicate each line to a person, persons, ourselves, a change we want to happen, a goal or even nothing at all.

Over the course of the 12 lines, there were feelings of enjoyment, angst, relaxation, wishing it would hurry up, focus and frustration. There was lots of noise and it wasn’t coming from the room, it was coming from inside my head.

I think I expected to fall into a deep trance of rhythmic movement but I was more concentrating on how many rounds I’d done and got confused to which side was next.  With each set, I’d think, “I’ll concentrate more on the next set.” It never happened.

My mind wandered frequently and each time it did, I would bring my focus back to the person I was dedicating that set too which helped it become quieter.

The 108 rounds took me exactly 3 hours which was quicker than I thought. I can’t believe I spent 3 hours doing the same movements over and over again, the time went so quick. Looking back, I must have gone into a bit of a trance as I can’t really remember it.

Did it hurt? Was I bored? Was it hard?
It didn’t hurt.  I expected my hamstrings to get sore and my arms to ache but surprisingly it was my wrists and knees that got sore.  My wrists from the constant transition from cobra to downward-facing dog, and my knees from the continual kneeling and rubbing of each pose. One lady even got a blister on her knee!

If boredom crept in, there was no point in me acknowledging it. At any stage where I felt a negative feeling pop up, I thought about my Atlantic Rowing Challenge and it soon knocked that feeling on the head.

I generated a great deal of heat moving through the sequences and using the Ujjayi breathe. Beads of sweat on my tummy rolled up and down as I moved from here to there.

At the end of the session, Colette gave us a white knitted rosette saying “This Girl Did 108.”  It’s like a medal at the end of an event. What a great touch.

Why 108 rounds?
108 rounds are traditionally done in India, facing East where the sun rises.

The number 108 has long been considered a sacred number in yoga:

  • Traditionally, malas, or garlands of prayer beads, come as a string of 108 beads, plus one for the ‘guru bead,’ around which the other 108 beads turn like the planets around the sun. A mala is used for counting as you repeat a mantra—much like the Catholic rosary.
  • Mathematicians of the Vedic culture viewed 108 as the number of the wholeness of existence. The distance between the earth and sun is 108 times the diameter of the sun, therefore, the number 108 is taken to represent the “distance” from the devotee to the divine.
  • There are 108 names for Hindu deities (Gods and Goddesses)
  • There are 108 Upanishads, which are part of the oldest scriptural texts of Hinduism. They primarily focus on philosophy, meditation, and the nature of God.
  • Some say there are 108 feelings: 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future. Therefore 108 can be split into 3 sets of 36:
    • 1st 36: Focus on person or event from the past that’s holding us back from living the life we want.
    • 2nd 36: Focus on some aspect of our present life that’s not serving us, and letting go of that person, idea, or feeling.
    • 3rd 36: Focus on letting go of the grasp we have on what we believe our future is supposed to hold for us.

Colette charged £6 for the session which included a meditation session at the end.  I lay down, covered myself with a blanket and fell asleep for 35 minutes, let’s pretend it was mediation.

The money she collected is being donated to CALM, a charity “which exists to prevent male suicide in the UK.” I was pleased to make a contribution to a good cause.

It was a beautiful morning and now I will spend the day relaxing, reading my book and allowing my mind and body to continue re-adjusting after my practice.

Happy Spring x