108 Namaskars: What does it mean and why you should try them.

What is a Namaskar?

Surya Namaskars, aka sun salutations, are a series of postures strung together in a sequence made to pay our respects to the sun. The term is derived from two Sanskrit roots; surya, meaning “sun” and namaskar meaning “greetings” or ‘salutations’”.

The Namaskar stimulates all muscles, organs, systems and chakras as well as cultivates concentration and breath. It is an energizing and efficient way to connect with inner strength and stability and is often used as a warm-up at the start of a longer yoga practice.

The transition from posture to posture is facilitated by either an inhalation or an exhalation, allowing the practitioner to link their breath to the posture. The repetitive nature of Surya Namaskar fosters a meditative practice, in which little thought needs to be given to the movement once it has been learned. This 12-asana series represents the circle of life. Each of the 12 asanas co-relates to the 12 astrological sun signs in which the sun passes through in one year. 

Why 108?

108 is a sacred & significant number that shows up in many areas of the Yoga culture.

  • Mala bead necklaces have 108 beads, which are used to count during meditation
  • In Ayurveda, there are 108 sacred points on the body
  • There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti. 54 times 2 is 108.
  • In astronomy, the distance between the Sun and Earth is roughly 108 times the Sun’s diameter

During 108 Sun Salutations, you will at some point think, “Why did I sign up for this?” If you keep going, you will find a state of ease, and even a sense of flow. You will surrender to the process, acknowledge what arises emotionally, and then let it go. When you finish, you will feel lighter and find meaning in this ancient ritual.


Practicing 108 Namaskars is a great way to find the balance of the body. You will push yourself further at the same time listen to where you are and what your body needs. As you become exhausted to complete more, take a Childs pose to reconnect and come back into the practice even stronger. The goal of 108 Namaskara is not to complete each sequence but to find your pace, breath and flow and to listen to where your body & mind are with each round.  Stopping or modifying your practice is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength because you are in tune with your body.