Midsummer, or the Summer Solstice is also known as Litha and is the day that the seasons change from Spring to Summer. The Solstices are the longest and shortest days of the year – the Winter Solstice being the shortest day of the year and the Summer Solstice being the longest day of the year. There are many, many traditions which celebrate this marking of the year. For thousand of years and across the globe, people have been in awe of the sun’s power, providing energy, light and sustenance for the Earth. In almost every culture and religion festivals have held to celebrate the solstices. The Solstice is also closely associated with Stonehenge, as it was constructed in such a way as to align with the Sun on the Solstices. Other ancient monuments were built with similar functions all over the world.
The Summer Solstice falls between June 20 and 22 each year. This year (2013) it happens to fall on June 21st.
But how can you make use of this time of year in your own life?
- Take stock and make changes – First of all, getting in touch with the wheel of the year will help you evaluate your fulfillment in life. Take stock and determine if you’re headed on the path that you intend to be on, or if you need to change your course. Use the brightness of the Sun to shine light on your life and to them make adjustments to ensure that you’re on the path to realize your goals.
- Get outside – now is great time to get outside and enjoy this extra long day. Connect with the cycle of the year by watching the rise and set of the Sun on this day. Eat all of your meals outside or go on a long hike. Enjoy the bounty that the Sun provides.
- Watch a Midsummer Night’s Dream on video or find out if a theatre nearby is performing it.
- Try the Sun Salutation. You’ll find details below a on how to perform it. This series of yoga positions will help you to greet and connect with the abundance of solar energy.
Surya Namaskar, more commonly known as the Sun Salutation, is a series of yoga poses that deepen the connection of your inner Sun with the Sun that sits at the center of our solar system. The aim of this practice is to align yourself with the Sun, and to draw those energies toward you in order to gain balance. Ideally, perform this near dawn and facing the rising Sun – you will find that there is a palpable difference depending on what time of day and what time of year that you perform this series. Make note of when you find it most rejuvenating.
- Start in prayer position. (Tadasana)
- Inhale, lifting your arms over your head. (Urdhva Hastasana)
- Exhale, extend arms down and fold over your waist. (Uttanasana)
- Inhale, arch your back and lift your head, exhale bringing the left foot back to a lunge position.
- Inhale and take the right foot back to a plank position, then exhale as you lower yourself. (Chaturanga Dandasana)
- Inhale moving to Downward Facing Dog. (Adho Mukha Śvānāsana)
- Exhale lifting your left leg into the air, go as high as you can without straining and with a straight leg.
- Inhale and take the left foot down, then exhale as you lower yourself.
- Inhale pull through to Cobra, exhaling as you let your legs sink into the floor and your chest feels the warmth of the Sun. (Bhujaṅgāsana)
- Inhale move back to Downward Facing Dog, then exhale relaxing into the pose.
- Inhale, lowering your bottom and lifting your head, exhale bringing the right foot forward and keeping the left foot back into a lunge position.
- Inhale bringing the left forward, exhale dropping your head and straightening your legs. (Uttanasana)
- Inhale, rolling up slowly and with your head being the last thing that comes up. Stand for a moment, breathing in the sun and feeling it’s warmth and vitality radiating through you. (Tadasana)