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June 29, 2021

What does 108 mean?  And why is it so symbolic?


We’ve recently introduced our beautiful new HUM Insight Mala, a tool for transformation, designed specifically to support your intentions and to raise your vibration. If you are unfamiliar with this type of meditation tool, “mala” is the Sanskrit word for garland. A mala is a traditional tool used for japa meditation, and “japa” means repetition. The mala is a tool to help you focus your mind and count your breaths or your mantras as you repeat them 108 times, passing the mala through your fingers, one repetition per bead. 


Yes…108 repetitions. And so the traditional mala includes 108 beads. We’ve also included three pause beads which divide your meditation journey into 4 groups of 27, 4 rounds of 27 repetitions, for a total of 108.  


In yoga we often see 108 repetitions. Yogis often practice 108 sun salutations to honour times of change such as the change of season or the new solstice. Sometimes it is 9 repetitions of 12 poses for a total of 108. We often do 108 repetitions in pranayama (breath work).


So why are there 108 beads in a mala? Why 108 repetitions? What’s the meaning of 108?


There are many many answers to that question, many scientific coincidences, philosophical and spiritual beliefs around the number 108. 108 is a sacred and significant number, and has been revered since ancient times.  Mystics have said that numbers can offer a secret language for understanding and awakening, that they can be messengers for us on our journey.  So the significance is open to interpretation.


When you are practicing your 108 sun salutations, or your 108 repetitions in meditation, you may be connecting with something old, sacred and really powerful, something we don’t even know the origins of.


Consider the significance of 108 across cultures, the coincidences, instances and uses... and even out into the universe.


An ancient sacred number

108 feet is the diameter of the sarsen stone circle at Stonehenge

108 feet is the height of several Mayan temples 

108 names for the Buddha

108 sacred books for Tibetans

108 columns and 108 steps in many Buddhist temples

108 names for each Hindu deity

108 sacred sites (pithas) in India

108 Upanishads (ancient sacred Hindu texts)

108 bell-rings to signal the end of the old year and welcome the new one in Japan

108 is sometimes used in the place of the name of God in Islam

54 letters in Sanskrit, each can be seen as either masculine or feminine, and therefore total of 108


The elegant mathematics of 108

When 108 is divided by 2, the answer is 54 and 5 + 4 = 9.

When 108 is divided by 3, the answer is 36, and 3 + 6 = 9

When 108 is divided by 4, the answer is 27, and 2 + 7 = 9

When 108 is multiplied by 2, the answer is 216, 2 + 1 + 6 = 9

When 1 + 0 + 8 are added, the answer is 9

108 is a Harshad number (1+0+8=9), and 108 is divisible by 9 (“harshad” is derived from the Sanskrit word for “joy-giver”)

108 is an abundance number

108° for each the inner angle of a regular pentagon 


108 in numerology

1= the beginning, newness, a symbol of confidence and power

0 = nothingness and eternity, the Universe

8 = abundance, achievement, balance, the ability to manifest your dreams

1 + 0 + 8 = 9, and 9 is a sacred and divine number that represents completion of a cycle, is an agent of transformation to the next cycle. It represents wisdom and is also related to humanitarianism. It signifies that we should share our gifts and abundance, while remaining grateful for what we have. 


Sun/moon/earth connection

The distance between the moon and the earth is 108 times the diameter of the moon

The distance of the sun from earth is 108 times that of the Sun’s diameter (at certain times as the earth’s orbit is an eclipse).

The first human in space was Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961. His space flight lasted a total of 108 minutes in which he completed one orbit of Earth.


The energy of the heart chakra

108 nāḍīs (channeling life-giving prana) converge at the heart chakra, connecting to all other chakras.


A sacred number in yoga

Yogis often practice 108 sun salutations, 12 rounds of 9 poses for a total of 108. 

Often we do 108 repetitions in pranayama (breath work).



An official Major League baseball has 108 stitches made using 88 inches of red thread.

Our Insight Mala has three sterling silver mantra beads - the atomic mass of silver is 108.



The beautiful new HUM Insight Mala is infused with an abundance of beautiful energy, the power of the “so hum” mantra, and a careful selection of stones making it a tool for transformation, designed specifically to support your intentions and to raise your vibration. It's a powerful combination of 108 labradorite and clear quartz beads, plus our custom designed sterling silver mantra beads. The sterling silver guru bead is inscribed with the Sanskrit “SO HUM” mantra which means “I AM that”. This mantra represents an all-encompassing spirit of wisdom and enlightenment offering you insights for your journey. It connects you with your inner teacher and supports your intentions. It’s a powerful mantra.  Find yours HERE.



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