A yoga mala is the ultimate moving meditation. It consists of 108 Sun Salutations. It has a repetitive, steady rhythm that helps transcend the purely physical form and move us closer to the unified Self. One body. One mind. One breath. Not everyone is ready to do the full 108 salutations. Each person should determine the number of salutations that will provide them with a healthy challenge.
This yoga ritual, usually performed at times of change and transition, has been described as a way to both strengthen and purify one’s body enabling one’s inner light to shine through. This is yoga in the true sense of the word. It is also our wish for the New Year as we say goodbye to the past and move forward into the future.
What is a MALA?
A mala, meaning garland in Sanskrit, evokes a circular, continuous form. In practice, a mala is the devoted offering of repeated cycles (typically in divisors of 108) of mantra or asana. Within a mala there is always a sense of beginning, continuing and completion. Both inside each individual cycle and in the practice as a whole.
What is the significance of 108?
The number 108 is seen as significant across a range of cultures and disciplines. It informs the architecture of sacred texts that are central to yoga and eastern philosophy: there are 108 chapters of the Rig Veda, 108 Upanishads and 108 primary Tantras. In the field of Ayurveda, there are 108 sacred places in the body, identifying intersections of matter and consciousness. Through the lens of astrology, the diameter of the sun is approximately 108 times that of the earth and the distance from our planet to its solar star is, on average, 108 times the diameter to the sun.
(some of this information came from gaiam.com)