Tomorrow is the Summer Solstice and YogaGypsy is hosting a Yoga Mala (or a class of 108 Sun Salutations).  It sounds really hard, and I know from my past personal experience, if it sounds hard….I don’t want to do it!  One thing a regular yoga practice has taught me is that being uncomfortable, working really hard, and not being able to do things well doesn’t equal not having a good time.  If you are on the fence about whether to attend, here are some common concerns that might set your mind at ease:

Why 108?:  108 is typically the number of beads on a prayer mala (Sanskrit word meaning garland).  The number has a spiritual significance in several religions and cultures.

Is this a religious/spiritual thing?  I’m creeped out!:  The mala itself is like a moving meditation.  As stated before, the number has a significance, but like all things, it only has the meaning that you assign to it.  It’s going to be similar to a regular yoga class.  It’s just a group of nice people moving and breathing together.

How long is this going to take?:  Probably 2 to 2 and a half hours.

Remind me what a Sun Salutation is?  A Sun Salutation is a series of flowing poses typically done in the morning to greet the day.  These can look different depending on who your teacher is.  For the 108 event, we will be doing Sun Salutation A’s which will be the following sequence:

  1. Mountain
  2. Mountain with Hands Up
  3. Forward Fold
  4. Halfway Lift
  5. High Plank
  6. Chaturanga
  7. Upward Facing Dog
  8. Downward Facing Dog

Then, you step or jump to the top of your mat, and you’ve just done one Sun Salutation.

I can’t do that!:  You have plenty of options to modify poses, and with this many Sun Salutations, pretty much everyone will be modifying for their body.  Instead of Upward Facing Dog, try Cobra.  If you are tired in High Plank, you can always come down on your knees.  Instead of jumping back into plank or jumping up at the end, just walk.  Instead of Downdog, try Extended Puppy.  You also can take Child’s pose at anytime.  At the beginning of the class, your instructors will demonstrate these to you in greater detail.

Even if I modify, I think my arms might fall off if I do that many.:  Simply do as many as you can.  Part of the challenge of any yoga class is learning to listen to your body.  Don’t push through pain.  Listen to it.  If you need a break, rest in Child’s pose. Even if you are resting, just focus on your breath, and start again with the group when you feel able.

Okay, didn’t you say this was going to be fun?  When does that fun part come in?:  You are going to have 3 very fun, lighthearted instructors (myself, Jen Powers, and Lindsay Still). Yes, it will be challenging.  Everyone attending will have their own limitations.  Thankfully, we all will be practicing in a safe, friendly, and accepting community.  You just get to show up, be yourself, do what you can, and everyone is going to love you for it.  What can be more fun than that?

I invite you to accept this challenge, and I hope to see you on the mat.