The number 108 is considered an auspicious, or sacred, number. For this reason there are 108 beads on a japa mala, or prayer garland. It is why many people do 108 sun salutations on summer and winter solstice. During our chanting for peace at The Yoga Sanctuary this month, we recognize the significance of 108.


Why 108? As it turns out, the number 108 shows up again in again in mathematics, nature, and in yoga. Just a few of many examples follow:


Mathematically, 1 to the first power is 1, 2 to the second power is 4, and 3 to the third power is 27; 1 x 4 x 27 = 108. 108 is also divisible by the sum of its digits (1 + 0 + 8 = 9; 108 divided by 9 = 12.)


In nature, we see that the diameter of the sun in 108 times that of the earth, and the distance from the sun to the earth is 108 times the diameter of the sun. The average distance of the moon from the earth is 108 times the diameter of the moon.


In yoga we see that at the heart chakra converge 108 energy lines, or nadis. In Ayurveda, the sister science to yoga, there are 108 marma points, or energy points, on the body. And in the Sanskrit alphabet, the sacred language of yoga, there are 54 letters, each with a masculine and feminine (Shiva and Shakti) version; 54 x 2 = 108. There are 108 Upanishads, or Vedic texts, 17 of which discuss yoga.


The number 108 also shows up in eastern religions. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism all regard 108 as a sacred number. The numbers 9 and 12 are also thought to be sacred (12 x 9 = 108.) Tuning into the power of this number is a great way to connect to nature, or to our source.