• GY: Vivek, as you know (since you are teaching it), we are holding a special class to ring in the New Year - 108 Sun Salutations with Mantra Chanting on Dec 31st @ 9:30am (this class will be 75 mins and all levels of experience are welcome!). A sun salutation (surya namaskara) is a series of poses that are meant to show gratitude to the sun and awaken its energy in our bodies. Surya namaskara allows us to reach deep into ourselves and awaken and circulate the sun’s healing energy to cultivate a clear and tranquil mind and restore our radiant bodies.

    Mantra chanting causes vibrations in the body that balances the nervous and endocrine systems, mood and overall sense of well-being. When we pair the flow with mantra chanting we direct these energies through each of the body's chakras. The regular practice of sun salutations and mantra chanting helps us find peace within ourselves, gratitude for our life, and self-love. I think we can all agree that this is such a wonderful practice. But I think the question on everyone’s minds is: “But, why, Vivek - why 108 of them?!!”

    Will you please share with us the significance of the number 108 and why we are using this practice as we transition to the New Year?

    VN: There are many significances attached to the number 108. In the Vedic culture, 108 is viewed as a number of the wholeness of existence since 108 connects the Sun, Moon, and Earth. The average distance of the Sun and the Moon to Earth is 108 times their respective diameters. The diameter of the sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. One of my personal favorite lies with the anahata (heart) chakra. The chakras are the intersections of energy lines, and there are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra.

    The 108 ritual of Surya Namaskara is usually conducted with the start of each season, to acknowledge the changing world around us. We are using the end of the year as a chance to bring in something new while we bid farewell to 2016. Some say there are 108 feelings, with 36 related to past, 36 related to present, and 36 related to future. We ask that when you go through the 108 rounds of Surya Namaskara to chant the mantra with sincerity, devotion, feeling, and full attention.

    The practice of completing 108 Surya Namaskara with mantra chanting will be an act of reverence, honor, and commitment to yourself and to the larger community. It is ultimately an expression of our community coming together in mindfulness to fulfill a collective purpose of elevating positive energy and transcend a typical yoga practice.