It was January 2007, 38 degree heat in Madurai Sivananda Ashram, India and I was on my way to my regular yoga class. I loved the classes taught be my teacher Mani ji, but in the heat it was hard work. After the traditional chant and some pranayama to settle the mind we were then instructed to come up to standing for Sun Salutes. His words are as clear today as they were on that day "We will be doing 108 rounds of Sun Salutes. I will chant the Sun Mantra’s and not stop till the last salutes are completed. You may stop, but you can’t lie down. You may start and stop as you wish". My immediate thought was….."no way, not in this heat!". That was all the time he gave us as he started to chant and off we went. The first 18 was fine and I thought, yes I can do this and in that instant, I felt the heaviness of my body, my wrist started hurting, the knee’s felt like they would collapse. I made it to 27 rounds and thought I could do no more. A few deep breaths to prepare myself again, then it was pretty messy. I was in fits of stop and starts until round 48. I was dripping with sweat, the heart was racing, my body had a weird sensation feeling numb and achy at the same time. What was interesting was the mind had anchored to the beat of the Sun Mantra's and then something magical happened. From round 48 to 98 something within me took over. did not feel my body and I no longer connected with the sweat. My mind was absorbed in the mantra but had also transcended somewhere else and to this day I cannot tell you where. I clearly remember the feeling of a vortex within me, like a whirlpool moving the body from one pose to the next effortlessly. I can’t remember anyone with me in the room, but I do remember the body flowing and moving.
For many years I have reflected on that moment and what happened and it has always been hard to explain. Now I'd say that I moved from observing the mechanics of the body to observing the mind and normally I would stop there and retrace. However, this environment was not geared to let me stop as the vibration and the beat of the mantra had taken hold.
Mantra’s affect our pranic (energy) field this was what I was feeling. In the Yogic world there is a concept of energy centres called Chakra's and the exact translation of Chakra's is Whirlpool. We have 6 main Chakra's in the body and the best I can describe my experience is that they were all active and I was more aware of these than the mind and body. I have yet to experience this again, but what I did experience lives deep within me to conclude that Cardio and Meditation can come together. We can work our body in a healthy way and tap into all aspects of ourselves in this prescribed ancient format.
Performing 108 rounds of Sun Salutes with Mantra is something truly exceptional and well worth doing. It can help shift a lot of debris in our physical, mental and psychic fields and the benefits are endless.
At our centre, we understand that we all have limitations. For this reason, our Sun Ritual is designed for all to enjoy Cardio and Meditation at your own pace.
- The first 2 rows are for those who are adept, fit and sporty and feel that can do the full 108 rounds
- Seconds 2 rows are those who prefer to do 9 rounds at a time. 9 on, 9 off.
- Last 2 rows are those who are new to their body and just getting back into things and can simply do as many rounds as they need to, stepping on and off when necessary.
So there you have it, my personal experience and a format for doing this amazing practice at your own level. The only thing I do say is that if you are new to Sun Salutes, it is best to learn the sequence, alignment and breathing before before signing up.
When: Quarterly on a Sunday from 7.00am - 9.15am
Where: Yoga Therapy Centre. 129d Onewa Road Northcote
Booking: click here