Summer Solstice Celebration
Monday, June 20th is the first day of summer in the Northern hemisphere, according to the astronomical charts. We celebrate the longest day of the year (and the shortest night) with Sun Salutations in our yoga classes.
Solstice literally means “standing of the sun”; and is so named because to the naked eye, the sun appears stationary in its northern and southern progression. The sun is directly over the tropic of Cancer at the summer solstice, which is its peak, its zenith of energy, of light and of power.
The summer solstice or Midsummer has been one of the important solar events through the evolution of humankind. It’s an indicator that the year was about to begin waning, thus winter would again return in 6 months. There have always been celebrations around this time of the year, even Christianity had its roots in many of the Pagan rituals that began centuries ago. The sun has always been honored and revered by all cultures because it is the lifeblood of our existence. The sun provides the warmth and heat needed for life….it is our primary source of light, and for many cultures it is both the physical and spiritual heart of our world and the creator of all life itself.
This ‘beginning of summer’, signifies change and transition into the next phase of our yearly cycle of growth and renewal. We like to think of this time of year as a symbol of our consciousness and self-illumination. In yoga, the sun has come to symbolize spirituality… and the movement of the sun across the sky…. a process of awakening.
One of the means of honoring the sun is through the dynamic asana sequence Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations), which we will be doing in our Monday yoga classes at the Caldwell YMCA. We not only set an intention on nurturing what within ourselves that we would like to encourage over the coming months, but we take the time to reflect on our outer journey and consider what we’ve achieved and what failed to germinate and how we might do things differently in the future.
So join me on the mat for both of the classes I teach on Monday, to explore this ancient ritual, to breathe and move rhythmically and dynamically through poses and sequences that can light our inner fire and celebrate our outer journey through these warms weeks of summer. Namaste’
“Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.” - Maori proverb