1. Work Up to It
If you’re not used to an extended practice, I recommend trying different sets of Sun Salutations varying the lengths before trying 108. For example, start by doing 20 in a row, maybe before or after your regular yoga class, and then work up to 40 or 60.
Just like with a hot yoga class, or any other strenuous exercise, the most important thing is to hydrate! Both on the day before and the day of, and during the practice.
3. Take Breaks
Take a breather every so often to make sure you’re staying safe. Sun Salutations require a lot of up and down movements, so it’s easy to get lightheaded. Make sure you’re listening to your body and resting in child's pose whenever needed.
When in child's pose focus on the humility and gratitude of the practice, and reconnect with your intention. And speaking of which…
4. Hold Onto Your Mantra
You can use this practice as a full-body Mala if you’d like; which means that with every Sun Salutation you complete, you’re moving with an intention, whether it’s a word, a phrase, or just a feeling.
For example, with each inhaling movement you may focus on breathing in "thanks and joy", and with every exhale you may focus on breathing away "anxiety and hate". This ia just one example—the options are endless, and choosing something that’s right for you to focus on can be an incredibly healing experience. Use your breath to focus on your mantra, and try to let it be the only thing that fills your head as you move.
It’s easy to get distracted in a repetitive practice like this, so it’s a great challenge to stay focused and meditative the whole time. Since it’s the same asana over and over, you’re not thinking about the next pose or grappling with a new transition, so you get this wonderful opportunity to focus just on your breathing, your mantra, and your body.
5. Take Some Time Afterward
Physically and emotionally, you will need to wind down after this practice. I would recommend doing whatever feels best for your body, and include twisting, happy baby, and stretches for the hips & shoulders before moving into Savasana.
I recommend sealing this practice with a two minute seated or supine meditative position, to reflect on what the experience has brought to you. It's important to check in and see how you're doing emotionally before heading straight out into the outside world again.
Hopefully these tips will help you feel more prepared for what might seem like a daunting or scary practice, but which is actually incredibly rewarding and exciting experience!
Special thanks to Maren Hunsberger for her guidance.
Barb is married and lives in London, Ontario. She has two wonderful step-daughters and two amazing step-grand daughters. Barb enjoys travelling and seeks out UNESCO World Heritage destinations around the globe. The history, culture & people she encounters along the way inspires her optimistic attitude and outlook on life.