My arms feel weak, and my heart feels full. Today, I find myself thinking about how I want to be in the space I occupy on the earth. Who do I want to commune with? What communities do I belong to?
Yesterday, I attended Rochester Global Mala. We did 108 repetitions of Sun Salutation A. Eight instructors from studios throughout Rochester kept our collective practice on track. They weren’t there to make us perfect. Instead, they encouraged us to respect and listen to our bodies and to switch to meditation or rest in child’s pose as we needed.
Each instructor led us through 12 salutations. Heather Ritenour-Sampson, founder of Yoga Tribe MN, began and ended our practice. I had forgotten her wisdom. It’s been years since I’ve been to one of her classes. My life changed and with it, my schedule. Maybe now is the time to find my way back to her class.
Ritenour-Sampson quoted Rumi, “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” Today I find myself still pondering the words, how they connect to community, and how the way I choose to live my life has an impact. I think the scariest thought is wondering how my life has an impact and what that reach is. Perhaps I should think about that before I buy another bottle of Diet Coke.
“Renowned mathematicians of Vedic culture viewed 108 as a number of the wholeness of existence. This number also connects the Sun, Moon, and Earth: The average distance of the Sun and the Moon to Earth is 108 times their respective diameters,” said Shiva Rea in a Yoga Journal Q&A. She articulates additional reasons in the article.
Before starting our practice I thought of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love. She split it into 108 chapters. As she wrote in her book, “…the number 108 is held to be most auspicious, a perfect three-digit multiple of three, its components adding up to nine, which is three threes. And three, of course, is the number representing supreme balance, as anyone who has ever studied either the Holy Trinity or a simple barstool can plainly see.”
Let Go My Ego
My type A ego struggles to be respectful of what my body needs. During yesterday’s practice, I was mindful that I would have to let go of my ego. Doing 108 chaturangas into upward dogs is beyond my abilities. I did them as I could and switched to doing eight point pose into baby cobra as I needed.
Halfway through one of the instructors said, “Trust that your body knows what to do.” I believe she was talking about the Sun Salutation A flow. I started to let go of my brain and trust my body’s wisdom. For the first time that I can remember, I flowed through the poses without self-conscious thinking.
We talked about bringing peace to our world through our practice. Surrender, rising up, community, and the earth were themes that we meditated on collectively. Sometimes, I thought about the Skinny Cow Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Sandwich that was in my freezer at home (I hoped).
Global Mala Rochester Details
Global Mala Rochester was held at the Rochester Art Center. All proceeds from it will be supporting youth arts programs at the Rochester Art Center and Project Legacy, a Rochester-based organization that has helped several at-risk youth transform their lives. They’ve gone far further than from homeless to hopeful. Several have gone on to earn college degrees and begin careers.
Continuing the Yoga Mala
I am contemplating on how I might begin another mala. Is there something I could do for 108 days that could help bring peace to the world? The song Let There Be Peace on Earth: And Let It Begin With Me has often brought tears to my eyes. So perhaps it’s time to begin living my life as if peace is part of its purpose, because it is.