June 21st is special for two reasons – not only is it the much-anticipated first full day of summer, it's also International Yoga Day! Celebrate the new season with a 5 easy ways to jumpstart the power of the warmer days ahead.
Summer Solstice, also widely known as Midsummer's Eve or St. John's Day, is the longest day of the year where the sun reaches its highest altitude and the Northern Hemisphere is intensified by extra energy and heat. Cultures from around the world have been celebrating Midsummer for centuries, and the day marks a powerful shift in the Earth's cycle. Valued as sacred and omnipotent, this year’s solstice will yield a whopping 14 hours and 51 minutes and 51 seconds of sunlight, making it the perfect day to absorb the rays of the new season and take a deeper look within.1
Our bodies are connected to the rise and set of the sun, and when we are exposed to more daylight, we naturally become emotionally, spiritually and physically supercharged – especially after a long winter or rainy spring season. This makes summer an ideal time to set new intentions, plant seeds and invigorate our lives with positive, fresh energy.2 So, if you're looking for ways to harness what the Summer Solstice has to offer, here are a five simple, yet meaningful rituals.
1. Watch the Sun Rise or Set
Every sunrise symbolizes a new beginning. Use the power of the warmer season to light a fire from within. Or if you're not a morning person, watch the sunset. As the sun hits the horizon, reflect and let go of what you may no longer need.3
2. Bask in the Sunlight
Make a special effort to give thanks to the sun. Feel its warmth on your skin, breathe in the fresh air and ground your feet into the Earth. Focus on the present moment, and be grateful for the vitamin D and happiness it provides.3
3. Campfire Ritual
Whether you have the option to sit around a campfire or simply light a candle, tear off a few pieces of scrap paper and write down things that no longer serve you. While gazing at the fire, inhaling its fierce energy, toss the paper into the flame and envision what life is like without those things weighing you down.3
4. Align with Nature
Keep your blinds open and let the light pour inside. Or better yet, sleep outdoors! Allow yourself to awaken as the sun rises, and rest just after the sun sets. Getting in sync with nature is a powerful reset for the body, promoting restoration and rejuvenation.
5. Practice Yoga
This year marks the eighth anniversary for International Yoga Day, made official by India's Prime Minister and the UN. Celebrate consciousness and the invaluable gift of yoga at an outdoor class in your local community. Open your heart to the summer sky, salute the sun and inhale nature's beauty.
"Each solstice is a domain of experience unto itself. At the summer solstice, all is green and growing, potential coming into being, the miracle of manifestation painted large on the canvas of awareness." – Gary Zukav, spiritual teacher and author