Wednesday, August 17, 2011

108 sun salutations and Janai Pernima

The full moon on the 14th of this month brought about the festival of Janai Pernima, this is when all high caste men must change their ‘Janai,’ their sacred thread, which they wear looped around their left shoulder, until the next year. This tied in with my ritual of 108 sun salutations which I normally perform at full moon time with my fellow yogis in Kuala Lumpur; we would meet around 7am at sun yoga KL, and reach that meditative state during 108 salutations, feeding energy from one another and sharing our practice. Well this full moon brought much change, no longer in KL and practicing alone on my mat in my little shala on the roof. Imagining the mighty Himalaya surrounding me (they are still blanketed in cloud at the moment) certainly helped me through, as I reached Tadasana after every salutation I felt elated, rooted in the earth and lifted at the same time. So why 108? 108 is a sacred number in Sanskrit; 1 representing overcoming our ignorance and new beginnings, 0; emptiness and 8; infinite energy. I find doing this practice a way of cleansing, its not easy to complete, especially I found this at a higher altitude to what I’m used to, but the feeling of humbleness and thanks one receives on completion is well worth the effort. Then after a hearty breakfast of bean soup, a Nepali favourite at this time of year, my husband and myself headed down to the Kumbeshwar Temple in Patan to join in the celebrations. It was so colourful, so joyous and we were welcomed warmly to join in, receiving blessings from the priest, joining with worship to Lord Shiva, hands painted with henna and watching the boys energetically jumping and diving into the two ponds where a silver and gold lingam is set up for devotes to take a ritual bath in the water that is said to come from the holy lake at Gosainkund. It was a wonderful day listening to the tiny bells tinkling in prayer around this enigmatic time. This 108, I dedicated to my friends and family for their happiness and to Raymond and Dhemeri who were celebrating their birthdays close to this day.
Om Namah Sivayah
Smiling from the heart OM.

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