Summer Solstice 2022 

 

June brings with it the Summer Solstice. On the 21st June we reach the shortest night and the longest day. The solstices have long been a point of celebration, so why not honour this auspicious time of year as part of your yoga practice?

There are only two solstices in a year – summer and winter. Traditionally, the Summer Solstice fell between planting and harvesting. This allowed people some brief respite and celebration, whilst the longer, sunnier days nourished the crops. Then the work would begin anew.

Both the Summer Solstice and Midsummer’s Day, have long been celebrated for practical and spiritual purpose.  Many of the Neolithic stone structures around the UK may have been formed or used as part of the seasonal celebrations. Their origins may remain a mystery, but people still flock to them for a solstice celebration. 

And, although calendars and countries vary, summer celebrations have found their way into many cultures. European traditions  include festivals and feasting. Fire plays an important role with bonfires often thought to bring in luck and ward off darkness. 

Ancient cultures also have shown to celebrate the height of summer. The main pyramid of Chichén Itzá in Mexican and Egypt’s Temple of Karnak – two monuments built to showcase the sunlight on the solstice. Egyptian cultures famously documented their own sun-led worship during this time too. 

As followers of yoga, we have a innate desire to live in harmony with the natural world. There is a potency in taking time to honour the turning of the wheel. As we prepare for longer days and balmy nights, we also naturally set intentions and make plans for the season.   

This year, why not turn your intention to your yoga practice and see what changes you can make there. There’s no need to follow any elaborate rituals (unless you want to!) But, here are some quiet, peaceful ways to honour the solstice as part of your personal practice.

Summer Solstice celebrations:

See the light 

Grab your SPF and spend a little time outside to feel the sun’s warming rays on your skin. Allow the light to fully shine on every facet of your life as you reflect on what you are ready to let go of, and what you want to make more of. 

Meditate 

On the season past and what you want to call in for the season ahead. Change and transition can sometimes bring uncertainty as well as as excitement so allow yourself times to sit with your feelings. 

Set intentions  

The sun nourishes the land, the flowers and our own inner light.

Create potent ‘I am’ intentions to help you visualise where you want to be. Nourish the seeds you have planted – in your practice, as well as your garden. It’s time to grow! 

Be in nature

Tend your garden, unroll your Yoga mat on the patio, walk barefoot and feel the earth between your toes – what works for you!

Bring the outside in 

Add plants to your living space, your practice area, or your altar if you have one. Sunflowers and oak leaves are perfect for this time of year. Why not place your favourite flowers along with pictures of loved ones/favourite places by your yoga mat. 

Gratitude 

Practice gratitude for the abundance that the earth brings into our life. Make notes in your journal, or just take a quiet moment to think of the things you are grateful for.

Eat well 

Maybe you’re planning a feast, a summer party, or maybe it’s a conscious intention to nourish your body through the season. Choose fresh, colourful, locally-available (where possible) seasonal food. Great for your body, and for the planet. (Let’s also acknowledge that this is sometimes a tricky thing, so look for what’s achievable and affordable in your area and budget.)

Barbecue

This might not sound like a solstice celebration, but hear me out!  The flame echoes the ancient traditions of fire to ward off evil and bring good luck. Need I encourage you more to indulge in this quintessential summer pastime? Just look at some of the beautiful vegetarian and vegan options that make use of seasonal, fresh produce – making this a great inclusive option for all. 

Catch a sunrise/sunset

Add your favourite tunes, or just the sounds of nature… Enjoy!

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