When the summer solstice arrives, you may want to celebrate with your passion for yoga. The changing of the seasons is one of the few natural phenomenon that marks the passing of time in a concrete way. You can connect to this organic time change with your yogic practice, balancing yourself with the time and gaining a deeper connection with the sun and the changing of the seasons. With a little attention to timing and direction, you can make your annual summer solstice ritual a time of renewal.
Planning a Summer Solstice Ritual
The most important component of your summer solstice practice sequence is planning.
Timing is an important part of any summer solstice ritual. The solstice comes at various times on different days every year. It's necessary to first of all know the day of the summer solstice. The day will be different in the Northern Hemisphere than it is in the Southern Hemisphere, as the seasons are reversed. Further, the solstice actually begins at a specific time of day. People wishing to truly sync themselves with the seasons through a yoga ritual should find the precise time of the solstice and begin their routine at or around this time.
Direction and Location
The sun rises in the east, making this direction important for a solar adoration. You can use a compass to find exactly where the east is, allowing you to salute the sun from the place that it enters your world. You may also want to select a location that has special significance for you with regard to the sun. This can be as simple as a beautiful, quiet place where you like to watch the sun rise. It can also be a city on the other side of the world. The important part is that the place be conducive to yogic practice and personally significant for you.
Many yoga practitioners learn the Sun Salutation Sequence early on in their training. This is an excellent way to greet the sun on any day, but during the summer solstice, this sequence has even greater meaning. Sun Salutations consist of a set of yoga poses done in a specific order:
- Mountain: Stand with your feet about a shoulder's width apart, with arms in the prayer position. Take a few deep breaths.
- Extended Mountain: On an inhale, slowly raise your arms over your head and bend backward as far as you comfortable can.
- Standing Forward Bend: On an exhale, bend forward from the waist, touching your hands to your feet and bending your knees if you must.
- Plank: Exhale, then extend both your legs back into something resembling a pushup in the up position.
- Low Plank: Exhale and lower yourself into a pushup in the down position. Take care that only your feet and hands are touching the floor.
- Cobra or Upward Dog: On an inhale, bring your neck, head and chest up while leaving your legs on the ground. In Upward Dog, rise up on the arms fully, tilting the head back.
- Downward Dog: Bring your head down and raise your hips into the air on an exhale.
- Walk, step, or jump your feet behind your hands at the front of the mat.
- Repeat Standing Forward Bend.
- Repeat Extended Mountain.
- Complete your routine by resting in Mountain Pose.
A summer solstice solar adoration is something that you can do by yourself or with others who wish to celebrate the changing of the seasons. You can combine your solstice yoga ritual with a party, a special meal, or celebration to mark the changing of the seasons. You could also spend the day in seclusion, quietly and mindfully meditating on the qualities of the year gone by and what you hope to get from the coming year.