108 Sun Salutes #9

I’m on a mission to do 108 sun salutes, 108 times, to help raise money for families affected by addiction and violence.

The next one takes place September 23 at 7:00 pm on the roof of the Esplanade. Here’s the poster:

108 Sun Salutes 9Those of you who have been before know how much fun it is.  Those of you who haven’t been, here is some more information.

What’s a sun salute?

It’s a yoga thing. You move through a series of nine postures using your breath as a guide. Inhale, you do one posture. Exhale, you do the next posture. Until you finish. And then you start again. Of course there are a million videos on a YouTube. Here’s a really good one.

It’s not that hard

You might be thinking that 108 sun salutes is too hard. It’s not. In fact, it’s surprisingly easy. It takes about an hour and fifteen minutes and the time flies right by. If you can do one sun salute, then you can do 108 sun salutes.

How 108 sun salutes is different

You don’t hold down dog for five breaths in 108 sun salutes. Instead, you hold down dog for one exhale and then you move to the next posture. This makes it easier to do 108 sun salutes.

One other thing. You break the 108 sun salutes into “sets”. At the end of each “set” you hold down dog for five breaths. This is a good way to keep count and it helps you get into the flow.

Other modifications

  • Step the feet to the front and back of the mat
  • Child’s pose or bent-knee down dog instead of full downward facing dog
  • Cobra pose instead of upward facing dog
  • Bent knees or knees-chest-forehead to the floor instead of four-limbed-staff pose

Taking breaks

It’s OK to take a break whenever you feel tired or at a loss for breath. You can rest in child’s pose or by standing at the front of your mat and rejoin when you are ready.

New to yoga?

Don’t worry. 108 sun salutes is safe and fun for beginners. I’m an experienced yoga teacher with a daily home practice. I work with highly qualified teachers who encourage you to work within your limits, breathe, and do what feels good.

Why 108?

According to yogic tradition, 108 sun salutes are held on the solar equinox and solstices, as a way to embrace the changing season. The numbers “1”, “0”, and “8” refer to one thing, nothing, and everything. And the Tibetan mala, or rosary, has 108 beads. Learn more here.

108 sun salutes is a special event. It makes for a fantastic local fundraiser. It’s a fun way to build community and make connections.

108 sun salutes is a very cool meditative experience. It takes mental strength and focus to overcome inertia and lose yourself in movement. It’s also a really good workout. It strengthens your hamstrings, shoulders, chest, and triceps.

Sign up

Just show up on the day of the event, September 23 at 7:00 pm on the roof of the Esplanade with cash, cheque or currently needed item for the Medicine Hat Women’s Shelter Society. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!

108 Sun Salutes: Presentation to Sunrise Rotary

The Sunrise Rotary Club asked me to speak about 108 Sun Salutes. Here’s what I said:



My name is Jon Sookocheff.

I’m the Manager of the Entrepreneur Development Centre at Medicine Hat College.

I’m married to the ever amazing Nancy Bassendowski and together we have two daughters, Gwendolyn, age 2, and Eleonora, age eight weeks.

They’re both super cute.

We have a dog and a cat, too.

Plus, I’m a director at Medalta.

I don’t mention all of this to brag.

Only to say that I’m busy.

Just like you.

Which is why 108 Sun Salutes is so important to me.

It’s my passion project.

A 27-year mission to do 108 sun salutes, 108 times, to help families affected by addiction and violence.


I started 108 Sun Salutes on July 3, 2012 with a simple blog post.

Here’s what I wrote:

Last week I had a brainwave. What if I completed the 108 sun salutation celebration 108 times?

I did some quick figuring.

They say you do the 108 sun salutation celebration on the first day of each new season. There are four seasons in a year. 108 / 4 = 27. So… it takes 27 years to complete 108 sun salutation celebrations 108 times. I’m 33 years old today. 33 + 27 = 60. I’ll be 60 years old in 27 years. There’s still time.

That gave me another brainwave. What if I donate 27 years’ worth of 108 sun salutation celebrations?

I did some more figuring.

A modest fundraiser can generate $400.  That gives me a low ball estimate of $43,200. It adds up quickly. There are literally thousands of worthwhile initiatives desperately in need of funds. I can help.

By now many of you are probably asking yourselves, “What’s a Sun Salute?”

Let me show you.


Now that you know what a sun salute is, you’re probably asking yourselves another question, “Why would anyone want to do 108 sun salutes, 108 times?”

To be honest with you, I didn’t have a good reason for starting this project.

It was just a brainwave I had one day after watching a documentary called Big River Man, about this lunatic from Estonia who swam the entire length of the Amazon River.

Something about that documentary inspired me to something crazy I could call my own.

That’s all it was.

I just wanted to do something.

It wasn’t until after I started that I figured out the reason why.


The number one reason why I’m doing 108 sun salutes 108 times is to honour my dad who died from alcoholism.

He was taken before his time.

My dad is my why.

He never got to try yoga.

I can’t say that it would have made a difference in his life.

All I know is that it’s made a difference in mine.

I firmly believe that yoga is one of the most powerful tools we humans have to improve our mind, body and spirit.

I want to spread the message that if yoga has helped me, then maybe it can help you, too.


The second reason I’m doing this is to build a community.

As they say in Africa, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

So even though I’m doing this as a personal challenge, I’ve organized it as a group fundraiser.

Every time I do 108 sun salutes, I invite the local yoga community to join me.

First, I ask the crowd to help spread the word via social media using #108sunsalutes.

Then, I enlist a small army of volunteers to assist with greetings, music, photography, and so on – the usual event stuff.

Whoever shows up to do 108 sun salutes throws $20 into the pot and we pass it on to a local charity.

So far we’ve raised $1,970 plus assorted supplies, food and other donations for various charities in Medicine Hat and beyond.


The third reason I’m doing this is inspired by my work at the Entrepreneur Development Centre.

I want this project to inspire others to take a risk and do the thing they always wanted to do – write a book, start a business, get back in shape, you name it.

I want to learn what it takes to start something and share my story along the way.

I want to be living proof that you don’t need permission to follow your dreams.

You don’t need money, you don’t need a committee and you don’t need a plan.

All you need is a half-baked idea and the willingness to fail.

Then you go out into the world and you do and you do and you do and if you’re smart and you get lucky then you succeed.


That said, I do have some goals for 108 Sun Salutes.

Obviously, I want to finish my personal challenge and do 108 sun salutes, 108 times, to help families affected by addiction and violence.

But I have another goal, too.

At the moment 108 Sun Salutes is 100% local.

It’s just me and a handful of volunteers doing what we can in our spare time.

I want 108 Sun Salutes to  spread to 108 cities around the world.

I guess that’s why I agreed to speak this morning.

I think you can help me achieve my goals.

First things first, follow me on Twitter and help spread the word.

Even better, accept my challenge and join me for 108 Sun Salutes #9.

It takes place September 23 at 7:00 pm on the roof of the Esplanade.


Thank you for listening.

It’s been an honour and a privilege to share my story with you this morning.

I’m happy to take any questions.

Thanks again.


Last week I posted three things that I’m thankful for. It worked so well that I’m going to start a new tradition. This week I’m thankful for:

  • The rain – the grass needed it
  • Mastery in the form of a strategic planning session and also via my friendly neighbourhood stereo repairman
  • Project completion – I finished a major project at work and now it’s time to start planning for phase three

All in all, it’s been a purposeful week. I took the time Monday morning to plan the week. This one simple thing helped me get unstuck. Plus, I wrote a short blog post every day. I let go of the idea that I’m blogging for an audience and started blogging for myself. I’m not feeling stuck anymore.

Being appreciative, planning for the future, and writing regularly helped me understand that I don’t need to scale back so long as I’m living on purpose and practicing contentment.