The June solstice is here once again, marking the longest daylight period of the year and the start of astronomical summer in Earth’s northern hemisphere.
Solstice means “standing of the sun” and we can connect to this great turning point in the earth’s yearly cycle by taking a moment to stop and be still and look back at our own unique journey since the winter solstice
This calendar year, Saturday, the 21st of June (at 4:51am Mountain Time) will technically be the longest day of the earth’s solar year and the shortest night. On this day the sun can be seen straight overhead along the Tropic of Cancer.
The Summer solstice, also called midsummer has long been recognized and often celebrated by many cultures around the world. The Ancient Egyptians, for example, built the Great Pyramids so that the sun, when viewed from the Sphinx, sets precisely between two of the pyramids on the summer solstice.
Recently archaeologists discovered the remains of an astronomical observatory in a long-buried Maya city in Guatemala in which the buildings were designed to align with the sun during the solstices. During such times, the city’s populace gathered at the observatory to watch as their king appeared to command the heavens.
And perhaps most famously, Stonehenge in the United Kingdom has been associated with the winter and summer solstices for about 5,000 years. Observers in the center of the standing stones can still watch the summer solstice sunrise over the Heel Stone which stand just outside the main ring of Stonehenge.
If you live in the northern hemisphere, take a moment to admire this seasonal and astronomical turning point before the nights grow longer again. In the meantime, the warmest days of summer are just arriving, even as the sun begins to spend less time in the sky.
In our Yoga classes on Thursday (Chair Yoga for seniors) and on Friday (Traditional Yoga at 9:15am) we will also celebrate the Summer Solstice by practicing “Sun Salutations” in honor of this special day on our astronomical calendar. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned yogi, please join us as we celebrate the out journey and prepare to transfer our energies inwards over the coming months that lead up to the winter solstice.