December 21st is widely believed to be an auspicious day, particularly this year, 12/21/12 – “Worldwide, interpretation of the Winter Solstice has varied from culture to culture, but most Northern Hemisphere cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time”* … and of course Yoga One’s 108 Sun Salutations.
Come celebrate the Winter Solstice with Yoga One! Amy Caldwell will be leading a practice of 108 sun salutations this Friday, December 21st, 2012 from 6:45 until 8:30pm. All students with a regular practice are welcome to attend.
Read on for more information about the Winter Solstice, the correlation of the Mayan Calendar and the significance of the number 108.
- The Winter Solstice is also known as the shortest day of the year. The sun is at its lowest zenith in the Northern hemisphere usually around December 21st or 22nd. The number of daylight hours will slowly begin to increase after the winter solstice until the Vernal Equinox around mid March. It’s possible that even Neolithic peoples were aware of the solstices and many religious and spiritual practices around the world occur during these celestial events.
- Stonehenge is one of the most famous stone monuments in the world, dating from prehistoric times. While archaeologists are still unclear about the original purpose of the monument, the stones are aligned with the rising and setting sun on the winter and summer solstices respectively. A similar phenomenon can be observed twice a year in New York City, although not on the solstice. Dubbed “Manhattanhenge,” occurs twice a year when the path of the sun lines up with the city grid. (Anyone know when San Diegohenge might be?)
- The Mayans were certainly aware of the solstices and equinoxes when they created their calendar and they attached special significance to certain numbers. As you’ve probably heard, this December 21st is the end of the Mayan b’aktun, or a period of 144,000 days. For the Mayans, 13 is a sacred number and this December is the completion of 13 b’aktuns. To learn more about the Mayan Calendar and the various theories surrounding the 21st, go to Joshua Berman’s article on the Huffington Post blog.
- Many cultures around the world have numbers of special significance like the Mayans. The number 108 is often found in Yoga, Hinduism and Buddhism. One of the most common representations of this number can be found in mala beads. Similar to a Catholic rosary, the 108 beads can be used for repetitions of mantras, chants or prayers. For more connections to the number 108 from around the world, check out Cora Wen’s comprehensive article, “Why 108 Sun Salutations…?”
* from Wikipedia