I have a confession to make…
I’ve never completed a 108 Sun Salute. Like all in one go. Never.
I’ve heard of it and knew that people did them for the Summer Solstice, but I had never even attempted! No way! Are you crazy?! It sounds incredibly daunting!
This is, until TODAY!
I scheduled today off from work knowing that I would need a day to “catch up” and rejuvenate in between my 12 hour Dental Hygiene days and my usual 8 hour days. I didn’t set out to complete the entire 108 sequence, but once I started, I found my flow and just kept going… and going. I equate this to a “Runner’s High” and it actually reminds me a lot of when I ran the 500 Festival mini marathon in 2009. This was after I had returned from Australia where I had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and completed all my chemotherapy and radiations treatments. I trained with Team in Training in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Before the race, I had only ran a total of 8 miles at one time and I had no intention of running the entire 13.1 miles. Participating in this race was only a way for me to prove to myself that my body had recovered from the harsh cancer treatments and that I was strong and capable of holding endurance. There were times during my chemotherapy and radiation where I could barely peel myself from my mattress to use the restroom. I was only 25 years old at the time and I wanted to feel strong again and so I set forth and I trained. On the day of the race, my plan was to run the first 6 or 7 miles and then finish with a rotation of running and walking. Once I reached the 7 mile mark however, I felt GREAT and thought, “Why not. I’ll go another mile” and then another and another and once I got to mile 10, I decided that if I stopped, I may never start again! So I just ran the entire thing. Slowly. But ran it none-the-less.
I thought for sure that my body would rebel and I would have an injury to answer to, but I didn’t. I made sure to replenish my body and care for it before, during and after the race by listening to my NEEDS and not my desires and/or fears. This body failed me once before with cancer, but this time we were a team.
When I started this Sun Salutation challenge 6 days ago, the most sun salutations that I had completed in a row was 36. Before creating this challenge for myself, I was doing yoga a few days a week, at most. This idea came to me and I sat with it for a few weeks – it wouldn’t let me go and sign after sign told me I HAD to do it. I had to take the leap. I knew there was a yogi from Montreal who did this in 2010 and she went on to beat the Guinness Book of World Records for doing the longest yoga sequence of 32 hours! I am not interested in the latter part of this challenge, I commend her and think she is amazing. I however am only interested in completing the 108 day challenge.
You can check out her full story at: yasminyoga.com
My reasoning for completing this 108 days of 108 Sun Salutations is very similar to my reasons for participating in the 500 mini marathon in 2009. I discovered yoga in Australia when I was going through my chemotherapy and radiation treatments. During my treatments, I was doing yoga 6 days a week – except on those occasional days where I could not get out of bed. Those days however, were very far and few between. The “cocktail” of chemotherapy drugs that I was getting every fortnight was supposed to completely knock me on my ass. I was told, among many things, that I would lose my hair within the first two weeks, that I would have constant nausea and I would not be able to work because of the fatigue. I however, did not lose my hair until after the 6th round, 3 months after my first treatment, and I worked a consistent 8-10 hour work day. I give all this to the fact that I not only found my Shadow Yoga practice and was strengthening my practice with Louise, one of my angels who came into my life at the exact time that I needed her, but also my fortnightly acupuncture and reiki treatments and my drastic change in diet. I’ll be sharing more of this in future posts.
Over the past 6 years, I have slowly slipped away from many of the practices that I had when living in Australia. I forgot how to honor my body and how to listen to it. I guess you could say that I’ve gotten a little cocky. All my tests have come back with positive results of no detectable cancer but I’ll be damned if I have to get sick again before I go back to my daily yoga practice! This challenge is my vehicle to become healthier in my physical body and my emotional and spiritual bodies as well. Secondary to this, but also so important, is my need to contribute and be an active participant in my community and fulfill my desires and needs to reach the Mother Land, India.
In India, I will be able to strengthen my practice even more and learn vital techniques of Yoga Therapy so that I can adequately help others achieve their health and wellness needs through adaptation and application of Yoga techniques. I will also be completing a long-awaited Ayurvedic Panchakarma, a cleansing and rejuvenating program for the body, mind and consciousness. It is known for its beneficial effects on overall health, wellness and self-healing. This is something that I have known my body needs for the past 7 years as a means to rid my body of any residual physical and emotional toxins left from my time with cancer, chemotherapy and radiation.
If you would like to support my cause and donate to my mission, please visit my GoFundMe account, follow my journey and please share your stories and/or inspirations!
We are all share the same air, the same breath. We are all one in the same and when we connect and reach out to one another, we are benefiting everyone – mainly, ourselves.
So much love to you all!