Yoga Health Foundation

Shiva Rea about Global Mala, The Power of 108 and Sacred Activism

The Power of 108 by Shiva Rea

108 has long been considered a sacred number in yoga and the world’s spiritual traditions such Buddhism, Jain, Sikh, Muslim, Taoism and Hinduism all have malas of 108 with Christian rosaries being made up of 54. Traditionally, malas, or garlands of prayer beads, come as a string of 108 beads (plus one for the "guru bead," around which the other 108 beads turn like the planets around the sun). A mala is used for counting as you repeat a mantra—much like the Catholic rosary.

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. Such phenomena have given rise to many examples of ritual significance.

According to yogic tradition, there are 108 pithas, or sacred sites dedicated as parts of Shakti’s body, throughout India. Sacred texts are structured around this number of unity with 108 Chapters of the Rg Veda, 108 Upanishads 108 Primary Tantras. and 108 marma points, or sacred places of the body. There are There are many pilgrimage places within India that incorporate 108 or the auspicious 1008 as part of the sacred space such as the 108 dance postures or karanas carved within Chidambaram or the 1008 steps leading to the Devi Chamundi Hill in Mysore.

The power of 108 is honored in several different ways: mantra, namaskar, prostrations Offerings that can me made as the full 108 mala or in numbers related to a mala. There is a profound ripple effect of coming together as a mala across backgrounds, traditions and cultures.

A mala is a sacred circle, within one’s one breath, one’s community, all beings on this circular earth, in our circular solar system, spinning through our spiral universe.

Wherever you are – flying solo or within your family, yoga studio, larger gathering, open to experiencing the energetic field of the earth, the global vibration generated through all of the positive practices and actions near the Fall Equinox, UN International Peace Day and Peaceoneday (the global cease fire initiative).

Learn more about the Global Mala Project with National Yoga Month’s support at and


Unplug. Tune In. Recharge.

Take Your Power Back.

What is Yoga Energy Activism?

A grassroots call to the yoga world and beyond to participate in practical and positive energy regeneration days.

Synching with the natural cycles of the year, with the new and full moon, connecting to many of the world's spiritual traditions YEA is about unplugging and tuning in for a day of energy regeneration.

What is an Energy Regeneration Retreat?

Synching with the natural cycles of the year, with the new and full moon, connecting to many of the world's spiritual traditions YEA is about unplugging and tuning in for a day of energy regeneration. Starting with our body, looking at the fuel that we take in, and exploring the challenge of zero waste…

  • Reducing packaging
  • Creating meals that use less processing and fuel to cook
  • Go for zero or as little waste as possible
  • Keep your car parked - ride your bike or walk
  • Purchase carbon offsets with Global Green.
  • Turn off and unplug all electronics and appliances (except the refrigerator)
  • Take a technology fast
  • Take time for yourself or gather with your loved ones, family and friends in creative and rejuvenative ways.
  • Use ghee lamps, soy or beeswax candles or solar charged lamps for necessary light* Create light from natural sources


  • Save water
  • How few times can you flush
  • What is your shortest reasonable shower or go greywater.
  • Reduce water consumption: flush one less time / cut 2-6 minutes off your shower