Friday, December 20, 2013

108 Sun Salutations on the Winter Solstice

Photos courtesy of Andrea Manitsas.

This year I'm celebrating the Winter Solstice with a transformative 3-hour yoga workshop at Yoga Tree in Corte Madera. We're going to be doing 108 sun salutations! 

I'm so excited to connect with my breath and body in such a powerful way, and to allow myself space to meditate deeply. I'll be thinking of the day as a mini retreat (and I'm excited to detach from holiday stress) -- a chance to reconnect, to invigorate my spirit, and to join in a powerful community celebration of nature.

Here are some reflections from Andrea Manitsas (who is teaching the workshop) on the symbolism behind doing 108 sun salutations and what she hopes yogis like me will get out of the experience.

Come December 21, we will continue to guide ourselves into the coldest, darkest months as Winter Solstice makes its presence known with the least amount of light and greatest amount of darkness of the year. If there's one thing a decade-long yoga practice has shown me, it's how to make my own light shine bright when all I can seem to see and feel is darkness. We gather to celebrate this-- that we are connected to the great cycles of the seasons, the Earth, the Universe-- that we are of it, but also empowered within it. That we can light the way through our awareness, dedication and devotion. 

As with all good rituals, fire will be our centerpiece. We gather in ceremony to offer our efforts to its transformative flames. I often recite mantra using my prayer beads, numbered 108. I look at this event as one big body mantra, 108 opportunities to move with the power of our intentions. 

While this is a physical feat, I would like all of us to leave feeling lighter and fuller, not depleted and defeated. 

We will explore several variations of Salutations - Earth, Sun and Moon. We will do nine rounds of 12 with breaks for breath, mantra and reflection between each round. 

Participants will be encouraged to find a personal pace, encouraged to rest when the body asks but play with the boundaries of the mind. You will be surprised by how much you are capable of - and how good it feels to drop into the rhythm of all that is!

You can read more about Andrea on her website:

Are you doing anything to celebrate the Winter Solstice?

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