8th June 2024

Embracing the Summer Solstice with Yoga: The Tradition of 108 Sun Salutations

The summer solstice, a time when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky and daylight is at its longest, has been celebrated by cultures around the world for centuries. This astronomical event, which usually falls on June 21st, is a potent reminder of the Earth’s tilt and the intricate dance of celestial bodies that shape our seasons. For many, the summer solstice is not just an astronomical event, but a spiritual and communal celebration, perfectly complemented by the practice of yoga. One of the most profound and popular ways to honor this day is through the tradition of performing 108 Sun Salutations.

The Significance of the Summer Solstice

The summer solstice marks the beginning of summer and symbolizes the peak of light, growth, and energy. It’s a time of abundance, a period when nature is at its fullest bloom, and the warmth of the sun nurtures all life. Many ancient cultures, including the Egyptians, Greeks, and Druids, held solstice celebrations to honor the sun, acknowledging its life-giving power and its role in the cycle of life and death.

Yoga and the Solstice

Yoga, an ancient practice that unites the mind, body, and spirit, aligns beautifully with the themes of the summer solstice. The physical practice of yoga, or asana, often mirrors the natural world and the rhythms of the cosmos. By practicing yoga on the solstice, we connect more deeply with these natural cycles and honor the profound energy that this time of year brings.

The Tradition of 108 Sun Salutations

One of the most cherished traditions among yogis during the summer solstice is performing 108 Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar). The number 108 holds significant meaning in various spiritual traditions, including yoga. It is considered a sacred number in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the universe’s wholeness and completeness.

  • Symbolic Significance: The number 108 is said to represent the universe’s dimensions and the relationship between the inner and outer cosmos. There are 108 beads on a mala (a string of prayer beads) used in meditation and chanting, reflecting its importance in spiritual practices.
  • Physical and Mental Benefits: Performing 108 Sun Salutations is a meditative and physically demanding practice that pushes the body and mind. It is a way to detoxify the body, build strength and flexibility, and cultivate mental resilience and focus.

Preparing for 108 Sun Salutations

Embarking on the journey of 108 Sun Salutations requires preparation and mindfulness. Here are some tips to help you get ready:

  1. Set an Intention: Before beginning, take a moment to set a clear intention for your practice. This could be a personal goal, a dedication, or simply an openness to whatever the practice may bring.
  2. Warm Up: Ensure your body is adequately warmed up to prevent injury. Gentle stretches and a few rounds of basic Sun Salutations can help prepare your muscles and joints.
  3. Pace Yourself: Performing 108 Sun Salutations is a marathon, not a sprint. Maintain a steady, comfortable pace, and listen to your body. It’s okay to take breaks when needed.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Keep water nearby and stay hydrated throughout the practice, especially if you are practicing in a warm environment.
  5. Find Your Breath: Focus on your breath to maintain a rhythm and help manage the physical and mental demands of the practice.

Celebrating the Solstice with Community

Many yoga studios and communities around the world host special events to celebrate the summer solstice, often culminating in the collective practice of 108 Sun Salutations. Practicing in a group can amplify the energy and provide a supportive environment, making the experience even more powerful and transformative.


The summer solstice is a time to honor the light within and around us, to embrace the fullness of life and the abundance that nature offers. By engaging in the tradition of 108 Sun Salutations, we pay tribute to this pivotal moment in the Earth’s journey around the sun. This practice not only strengthens our bodies but also connects us more deeply to the rhythms of the universe and our own inner light. Whether you are a seasoned yogi or new to the practice, embracing the summer solstice through yoga can be a beautiful, meaningful way to celebrate the peak of light and life.