Happy International Yoga Day & Summer Solstice!
Sometimes I think how is this year going so quickly?! A day as special as today, both IYD and The Summer Solstice makes you stop, hold, and reflect. Reflect on the past 6 months and all that has been, refresh for the future months and what is to come.
On June 21st, the Sun moves into Cancer. No matter where you live in the world, this moment marks the Solstice, bringing with it a shift of light and a change in season. In the Northern Hemisphere, this is when the Sun is at the top of the sky, at its most radiant! In the Southern Hemisphere, the day signals the darkest time of year. Wherever you are, the Solstice is a turning point, such is the cycle of Time and her seasons.
As the days stretch out like wide arms to embrace you, the sun is long and light, abundance is all around us, positivity, radiance and joy. It is such a great time to journal, feel the feminine energy that runs through nature, and cultivate that vitality into our own lives.
When this energy is combined with the power of the Solstice, it is both nourishing and celebratory. To welcome this pivotal point in the year, there are some loving rituals you can consider…
1. A NEW AFFIRMATION
Taking a moment to reflect on this month and the transitions to full vitality - you could try adding affirmations into your meditation practice. Affirmations work brilliantly to switch up your mindset and connect your inner world with the outer.
Ekhart Toile has said, “The mind, to ensure that is remains in control, seeks to continuously to cover up the present moment with past and future, and so, as the vitality and infinite creative potential of Being, which is inseparable from the Now, becomes covered up by time, your true nature becomes obscured by the mind.’
You could try affirmations to control the wondering mind in meditation such as, “I am attuned to the frequency of Life & Love” “Love & the power of life flows through me”.
2. CREATE A SPECIAL SPACE OR ALTAR
We all have our own unique ways of creating a ritual, perhaps like the Pagans and Druids before us in Europe, who are said to have gathered at Stonehenge for the Solstice and thousands still gather every year, you too can collect special pieces, sages and trinkets for your home spaces.
Bringing the colour of vitality, Yellow, into your home space - can instantly lift your spirit. Gather any flowers, plants, fruits or leaves that are available in your area at this time of year. Place your finds on your altar.
3. INVITE IN THE LIGHT
This can be as simple as opening all your blinds and curtains and absorbing as much of the sunlight and wonderful Vitamin D and the endorphins that can bring. You could take your practice outside and practice 12 sets of Sun Salutations to honour the day. Open your heart to light within during these days… Gather with the people that light you up. Gather together, form a circle or connection. Share food, walk together, play games, and share stories about what this time of year reminds you of and how this is special.
I am most happy in the Spring/Summer, my sunshine Gemini heart flies and I feel whole… but come winter… oh dear... so I will be planning how to bring more sunshine and vitality into the winter months as well - what about you? Comment below :)
4. NUTURE + MEDITATION
Waking up with the early sunrise has been linked to increased mental performance, better sleep and more productivity! This makes me kinda sad as a night owl, but who can sleep through the birds morning chorus in any case, it’s so loud!? This morning time is a great time for self-reflection. My mum who is a dedicated Christian, takes this time for prayer and reflection and I enjoy to take meditation, prayer and journal.
Consider a project, relationship, or person in your life that you want to nurture. Form a plan about how you are going to show up in the next months ahead, or free writing to let your stream of consciousness flow!
Adding in some extra yoga practice in the longer summer months is a great way to build in vitality and get the body working an flowing! Adding in some asanas to your usual practice can shake things up and bring in some more energy to your flows, Yoga Poses for Vitality:
From Warrior I, slightly move your front foot over to the edge of the mat, interlace your hands behind your back and breathe fully into the lungs. Bow forward as you release your breath, surrendering your heart towards the earth and allow the arms to follow you, a bow in gratitude.
LOW LUNGE, VARIATION
Reach back with your left arm, and catch the inside of your left foot. To increase the stretch in your left quadriceps, gently draw your foot closer to your body. Keep your left foot in line with your hip to prevent any twisting in your knee. Hug your back knee toward your front foot for stability. Lift your chest, and then extend your right arm forward, connecting your pointer finger and thumb in Wisdom Mudra. Stay here for 5 deep breaths.
REVERSE PRAYER POSE
From standing or sitting, stretch the arms out wide and rotate the hands and arms reaching behind your back, aiming for your hands to meet palm to palm. You may find that only your fingertips meet to begin with. Close your eyes and breath 5 deep breaths here for a moment of peace in the present.
WIDE ANGLE SEATED FORWARD BEND
A current favourite of mine and much needed! When I was younger I was super flexible in this pose, I could lie face flat quite comfortably, but with jogging and neglecting my deeper leg work in practice, I have noticed just how much energy in held in the inner legs and how much work I need to do to open my whole body back up…
Extend both of your legs out and wide into a V shape. If you have a hard time bending forward, try sitting on the edge of a blanket, which will help tilt your pelvis. Walk your arms out in front of you until you feel a stretch along the insides of your legs. Pause, and breathe here until the sensation diminishes. Then, continue to walk your hands forward, perhaps lowering onto your forearms, I like to flow back and fourth in this, ebb and flow. Stay in your fullest expression of this pose for up to 2 minutes, allowing your nervous system to settle and your mind to quiet.
Most of all, enjoy the day Yogis, lets celebrate this time of year, hold it in our hearts so we can move forward with ease into the next stages of our journey, come together with friends and make time for the small rituals as they will look after the bigger times and shifts that come.