Why 108? The number 108 has long been considered a sacred number in Eastern religions and in yoga. The number of beads on a traditional mala is 108, and the intention of practicing a full mala of a sequence or pose builds a strong anchor into the body-mind memory.
Why Moon Salutations? The practice of the Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations in repetitions of 108 has become a common practice at the time of the Spring Equinox, and renowned teachers such as Siva Rea have increased the popularity and collective intention of this practice through the "mala around the earth": more at www.globalmala.org. It is part of our larger vision to create a global mala of the Moon Salutation too! Wouldn't it be amazing if we held global malas of the Sun and Moon around the world on the equinox and solstice events?! That's Planetary Consciousness in Action!
As most yogis and yoginis know, Hatha Yoga, translates as "union of the Sun and Moon". The Sun Salutation has inspired much of the Vinyasa and flow yoga that is popular today, and to quote Swami Sivananda, it is practice for "prayerful contemplation of the divine power that the Sun represents."
We have chosen the practice of Chandra Namaskar, Moon Salutations, invoking a prayerful contemplation of the divine power of the Moon, which has an essentially different quality than the Sun. Practicing with an intention of integrating the influence of the moon on the tides and flow of water and the honoring of the Moon's essential role and influence in creating life on our planet, including human reproduction cycles, is part of the offering of the practice.
Why on the Solstice?
We chose the auspicious date of the Full Moon that aligned with the Solstice, the time of year when we experience the earliest sunset and thus the longest night of the year. Since there was also a full lunar eclipse on the Full Moon (the last time was 632 years ago!) it made it an even more auspicious time to focus on the inner light of our yoga practice, and to open to the divine power of flow that the Moon represents.
What is Visionary Yoga?
Visionary yoga is a term that I have coined to bring attention to both the inner vision and manifesting outer inspirations that we can bring into the world. From visual arts, to new world views, to living systems design for waste and energy management ~ there is no limit to the inspirations of our practice.
Why the art in the studio?
We were honored to host the art of Eric Nez in the studio, featuring two 12'x3' banner-sized reproductions of his original works inspired respectively by the Surya and Chandra Namaskar. The integration of Art and Yoga as elements of a global renaissance are at the core of the inspiration of this special event, and are deeply co-inspirational in the works of Eric Nez and the Dreaming Co:nexus arts collaborative.
Why at Yoga Bhoga?
Since I recently started teaching at Yoga Bhoga I had the chance to pitch the idea to Scott (YB owner) and it all came together from there. It was perfect to host this special event at the studio in SE Portland's revitalizing formerly industrial neighborhood. The themes of revitalizing and renaissance were at the center of the practice celebrating the influence and power of the moon and the Winter Solstice.
Since the studio is currently having a rebirth of it's own with new owner's Scott and Saundra Lennartz we were excited to offer this practice as a blessing and activation of the studio as a sanctuary for union, play and regeneration, cultivating healthy lifestyles in the heart of Portland.
Why such a challenging practice?
The event of completing the 108 Chandra Namaskar has been a goal for some time for the reasons listed above. While it is a challenging practice it just seemed like the perfect time to go for the Full Mala. For those who attended, along with our gratitude we would like to offer that the half way point of the practice technically included 108 bows since the full sequence includes two prostrations. Also, for those who found the practice too rigorous I want to convey that we regularly host a variety of workshops that are less singular and endurance oriented so do keep an eye on our schedule for upcoming workshops!
With Solstice Blessings and Season's Greetings for a Regenerative Renaissance,
Namaste, Keala Young