The Yoga Mala that I assisted teaching with Cassi (who has taught several malas) took place at Tula Yoga on the Autumnal Equinox. Changes of season are perfect times for intention setting. Cassi brought sea glass as mala beads to keep track of the 108 repetitions. The number 108 is said to represent the universe: 12 Zodiac Houses x 9 Planets = 108.
I had the honor of counting the sun salutations as the participants completed them. One rock, shell, stone or tiny amulet for each salutation, counted out into neat piles and dropped one at a time back into their simple glass jar container. This repetitive act was its own form of meditation; and the sound of the object coming into contact with the glass or another object inside the jar added to the soundtrack.
This beautiful ritual inspired me to find 12 stones to assist me in keeping track of the salutations in my personal mala (completed over nine days, 12 salutations per day). There’s something very sensual about handling stones. I have a collection of them that I’ve gathered from locations which I have visited across the country – found alongside creek beds and hiking trails.
There is something cathartic about the repetitive flow vinyasa. Even though the asanas of Surya Namaskar are basic poses which I have practiced for years, I found a new awareness in them with each return, and became more in tune with the actions needed to move through them with more ease and less effort.
I completed the mala. I no longer hate chaturanga. There is in the place of hate a newfound respect for the power of the pose. And a deep respect for the beautiful yogis who I had the honor of witnessing in their intention of 108.