The number 108 is considered a sacred number not only in Yoga but in most ancient religions such as Jainism, Islam, Buddhism and so on. Mala or Japa beads are on a string of 108 beads and are used for devotional meditation, mantra and prayer. With each bead a mantra or prayer is repeated to meet a total of 108. 108 is considered to be the most sacred number in the practice of Yoga. The Meru bead is the larger bead or tassel on the mala and is not part of the 108. This bead is the guiding bead and marks the beginning and end of the mala/chant/prayer/mantra.
In Vedic astronomy, the diameter of Sun is 108 times of the that of Earth. The distance between the Earth and the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Sun. The distance between the Earth and Moon is 108 times the diameter of the Moon. According to Vedic astrology, there are 27 constellations and each constellation has four directions covering the entire galaxy (27x4 =108).
Hatha Yoga is defined as the union of two different energies; the Sun and the Moon or the Masculine and Feminine.
Here are a few interpretations of the significance of the number 108:
There are 54 letters in Sanskrit and each letter has a feminine (Shakti) and Masculine (Shiva) energies (54x2 = 108).
In Yantras, the most famous and powerful Yantra is called as Sri Chakra which has 54 intersections. Each Intersection has a masculine and Feminine energy leading to 108.
In Ayurveda, there are 108 Marma points. The 108 marma points (107 on the physical body and one in the mind). Physically, the marma points are found where tendons, bones, muscles, joints, veins, nerves, and other tissues meet.
In Sanskrit Classic Literature, there are 108 Upanishads and 108 Puranas.
Tantra states that we breathe 21,600 times in a day out of which 10800 times is solar energy and 10800 times is lunar energy (108 x100 =10800).
There are 108 Nadis, the energy channels intersecting the Anahata Chakra (heart chakra) and Sushumna; the channel of energy flowing in the core of the spine and extending from the base of the spine to the eyebrow center (with an extension to the base of the nostrils)
There are according to the Indian culture, 108 desires, 108 evils while most of the Gods are have 108 names.
The Sun Salutations 108 is the twelve times of 9 which is the number of Vinyasa in Sun Salutation.
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