Mark your calendars everyone: Monday, June 21 @ 6:34pm EDT. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, this is when the Summer Solstice will happen this year.
As the Sun continues to orbit, this is the time when it appears to slow down and hover over the Tropic of Cancer in the Northern Hemisphere. The result is quite amazing: we, Earthlings, will have 15.05 hours of daylight on Monday, June 21st. What a gift!
Here at I Am Yoga, we started the celebration with a Gong Bath & Yoga Nidra workshop. It was a beautiful, heart-opening, regenerative, and inspiring event where we came together to take time for ourselves and attune to the rhythms of the universe.
The connection of yoga and Ayurveda to planetary events such as the Solstice is bigger than we may think. Yoga and Ayurveda teach us that we don’t live separated from one another or the rest of the universe. They teach us that prana (life force), or energy, permeates everything there is in the universe.
And so, when events like the Solstice come along they remind us that while we go about our business - taking the subway, fighting off annoying bosses, caring for ourselves and families, and on and on - the universe doesn’t stop working either.
Taking the opportunity to reflect on these dancing rhythms of Nature (Prakriti) – the stars in the sky, the beaming full Moon or the unapologetic bright Sun, the ever-soothing sound of ocean waves – becomes an unrefusable invitation for contemplation. Ultimately, it becomes an opportunity to lessen our human neurosis.
This Summer Solstice comes at a much needed time after the Orlando shooting. Events like that of Orlando leave a great footprint in our collective and individual consciousness. They scar us at an emotional, psychological and physical level.
Throughout history, human kind has celebrated life and rites of passage in ways that always included sound. Indeed, sound has always been an important part of life in any tradition.
In particular, gongs, crystal and Tibetan singing bowls, cymbals, etc., generate a sound close to the primordial ‘OM’ – the source of all there is. These sacred sounds help us restore the harmonious flow of energy throughout the body. They help us clear space in ourselves and let the benefits of newly found peace, wellbeing and harmony reverberate beyond one’s body, beyond the walls of this yoga studio as we engage in the world with a new sense of what it means to be peaceful, what it means to feel connected to one’s self and the community we’re in. And these are no little achievements, by any measure.
Wherever 6:34pm EDT finds you this Monday, take a moment to connect with yourself and the universe, take the opportunity to expand and renew with it. You don’t have to do much, simply putting a hand on your chest, your heart center, is a sign of love for yourself and reverence for all there is.
Or you can take a deep breath, close your beautiful eyes, have a smile on your gorgeous face and offer a prayer. The world certainly needs it and perhaps you do too.