This is an offering to all- use this as a Summer Solstice meditation to guide your practice and inspire your thoughts. From my Summer Solstice Yoga Class, 2018.
Summer Solstice 2018 Meditation
Each day we follow the pulse and stride of the sun. Many of us rise from our slumber as the sun appears to rise on the horizon, and we yawn and turn ourselves back into that deep slumber sleep as the sun appears to set. Our own internal rhythms syncopate with each revolution of the earth around the sun. Both the winter and summer solstices mark a time to pause and reflect on the qualities of balance. While the winter solstice marks a time to pause on our internal stillness and inner darkness, the Summer Solstice, the time of greatest light, marks a time of buoyant expression, enthusiasm, fearlessness, and confidence. Cultures throughout the ages have paid homage to this time of great light with festivals, song, dance, and reflection.
In yoga, we seek to cultivate and grow the qualities of light within, and grow the radiant abundant prana- life force. Summer surges with life force energy- prana, and we yogi’s soak it in. We owe our very existence to the light of the sun as it offers us inspiration on our path of evolution. Through our asana, our breath, our lifestyle, and our thoughts, our work in this path of practice is to build and grow our light within. At this planetary juncture, may we pay homage to that life giving force, Surya, and the Jyoti- the illuminating light that is provided. May we reflect on our life path- What can we do to cultivate more light and illumination? How can we offer reflection of this light into our own lives? How can we live in a light and balanced way?
Bring your hands to the Manipura Center, Solar Plexus, right hand on top of left. Visualize the light of Surya within- illuminating all the centers of Self. With each inhale, breath in cleansing light. With exhale, release negativity and doubt. Draw from the potent Solstice energy of the Sun to grow what you seek to cultivate in your life. Let the vibrant solar energy inspire your thought and actions.
Sit for 3 minutes.
Surya Mudra- bring thumb of each hand over ring fingernail. Begin a few rounds of Ujjai breath.
Then begin 30 rounds Kapalabhati- (it is similar to panting like a dog- you learn it with mouth open, then close mouth and breath through the nose).
After 30 rounds, pause, then repeat two more times (total 3 rounds of 30 breaths).
Then 30 seconds of Ujjai.
Now engage Nadi Shodana. You can begin with simple visualization of this breath: Breath in through left nostril, then out through right nostril. Then reverse, in through right nostril, out through left. You can continue with this simple visualization, or you can use the hands to close one nostril at a time: index and middle finger to base of thumb, and use ring and thumb to close of one nostril at a time. Repeat up to 3 minutes.
Then return to Ujjai.
Gayatri Mantra is one of the oldest Mantras from the Vedas. It is a prayer to the sun, asking it to illuminate our mind and thoughts and to guide us towards awakening.
Om Bhur Bhuvah Svaha
Tat savitur varenyam
Bhargo devasya dheemahi
Dhiyo yo na prachodayat
Oh Divine Presence, Creator of the Universe, May your supreme light illuminate our intellect and guide us on the path toward enlightenment.
We meditate on that wondrous spirit of the Divine Solar Light, which shines in every dimension of life. May that Light inspire and guide our inner vision.
I find great value in seeing the recommendation of other bloggers and online professionals. Many of the wonderful new books I learn about, websites I visit, information and ideas I learn about come from these recommendation and links. So, in the spirit of sharing the work of others, here are some links that have been inspiring me.
I always enjoy receiving emails from Carrie-Anne Moss, you might recognize her as Trinity in the Matrix movie. She is also a yogi and runs the site Annapurna Living. Her post on peri-menopause meant a lot to me.
We all need to prioritize scheduling rest. I find myself constantly thinking I need to do more, schedule more, teach more, make more… and then I realize I want to drop it all. I am meditating on how to schedule rest and do less. This is a deep process for me and I haven’t figured out how to balance it.
In this growing age of digital and instant everything, the world of Analog is making a radical return (think watches and clocks with hands, vinyl records, real books, and daily printed newspapers). I have been interested in David Sax’s book, Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter.
Sarah Clark: An inspiring African American Yogi. Her recent Instagram post on Abundance as resilience moved me to deep thought.
Cal Newport’s post on The Disturbing High Modernism of Silicon Valley.
If you are interested in yoga as a movement and cultural phenomenon and the vast changes of yoga over time, you should follow J. Brown’s yoga podcast. I especially enjoyed this post on the Unexplainable Importance Of Yoga.
The new East Forrest music Video. I play East Forrest in most of my Yoga Classes.
I hope you find joy and inspiration in these posts!
I seek a sweet inner quiet space. I seek a time for deep reflection and deep creative, reflective, and spiritual work. I desire to spend time being creative and to cultivate connections with care and attention. I am participating in a January “digital declutter”. I hope to spend time each day out in nature and to be fully present with my family and loved ones, to not be distracted by tech devices plinking away with texts and mindless use of my precious time. I have already stepped back from social media use and it has left me with a much better sense of self and mind.
I will be stepping away from all social media use during the month of January and I will engage in limited technology use. I will check email, manage this website, and you may contact me here. I will also send a few hand written, and even typewriter typed, letters during the month of January. Remember when we had penpals? It may be time to return to that level of connection and attention.
I hope to do some deep work in this quiet time away from draining distractions. After January, I will revisit my usage and decide how to best move forward.
Be well, and use your precious time with great care.
“We breathe, we pulse, we regenerate. our hearts beat, our minds create, our souls ingest. Thirty-seven seconds well used is a lifetime.” ~Mr. Magorium
“May I have the courage today
to live the life I would love
to postpone my dream no longer to do at last what I came here for & waste my heart on no more fear.”
~John O Donohue
You who are reading this now — know that my wish and prayer for you in the New Year is for you to approach your life with courage and strength of heart. I pray that you will energize the will and determination of your fire center to make the life you have longed for and dreamed about. As we have turned the corner on the darkest days, use this growing light to set your seeds of new intention and inspiration. Create the life you have longed to live. Let go of what is not serving you. What would it look like if those things holding you back were no longer there? What would your ideal day and your ideal life look like? How could your life be simpler and more easeful? What is one step you can take today to move yourself in that direction? What can you do tomorrow to continue that journey?
May you have courage as you enter this New Year.
Let us create a new story. There is great uncertainty in the future. We cannot expand infinitely and exponentially on a finite planet. In “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari, he says that what distinguishes the human species from all other species on this planet, is our belief in our stories. Stories define our entire existence, and we take them very seriously. One only has to look at the major religions of the world to see that this is true. The economy, capitalism, is an agreed upon story that can be changed. The earth, water, air, and dependent species, are not stories. They are the reality we depend on for our very existence. They suffer because of our agreed upon story of “progress” and “economics”. It is a false story and one that will fail us, my friends. That story has an ending. We can go on pretending that it is ok to purchase and throw away, day after day, to look the other way To strip the land of its blood and infest our water with our greed, but it will catch up with us. Now we have a leader who fully exemplifies this story of capitalism, debt, and wanton greed. He has shown us greed, racism, misogyny, and other disgraceful traits. Is it any surprise that our choices have led us here? How have we participated in this story of the economy being more important than caring for others? Can we own our part, and begin a new story?
I try every day to live a true life, a life to my ideals in every action. I have much work to do to live better. But I often feel it does not matter what I do if others don’t try to change, especially our leaders. No, I cannot be at the protests this weekend. I have my work that is the yoga training that I run. I set the dates for this work over a year ago. I hold myself to the commitment I made to these students. In my work, I am training people to not just teach Asana, though that is a part of it. I am teaching people to think and to question their actions and their choices. We spend much time pondering over our mind and it’s thought processes. We learn to grow and be thoughtful humans. They are being trained and certified to be teachers on their own, to bring these life changing practices to others all around the community. I feel this is the most important work I have to offer the world. There is a lot of work to be done, to be undone really. Let’s hope it is not too late. My heart is with all those taking a stand this weekend.
If like me, you can not be there to protest on that one singular day, can you do the bigger work of taking on a new story? Can you envision a new way to participate in the world and make each day, each choice, count towards the creation of a new story? Can you slowly disengage in the story that is not only no longer working, but is destroying the water, earth, air, and countless other species?
This is the work that needs to be done. As story creatures, let us begin a new tale.
*Photo credit: Tammy Strobel, Rowdy Kittens
This past week was full, with both leisure time, work, and planning. We celebrated a birthday for Josh, I dealt with preparations for my 2 teacher training program weekends coming up, and worked on organizing sharing our big events hosting Swami Gurusharanananda in just a few weeks. I like to stay inspired by my rural world and the world at large so I keep note of inspiring moments. Here are five inspiring moments from my week:
1. The Standing Rock Protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline. If you haven’t heard about it, read this article by Bill McKibben.
And if you feel moved to help this cause, if water, air, and land are important to you, Donate $5 to the Standing Rock Reservation.
2. Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens. She lived in a tiny house for a while, and now blogs about living big with a small impact. In part, this post is inspired by her emails. I hope to continue to include regular inspiring moment lists.
3. Because of a post by Tammy, I was inspired to create a “What I’m Doing Now” list. It is a post on my blog. I encourage you to make your own list, read more about why it’s a good idea.
4. Project 333. I’ve talked about it before, and now one year after learning about it I am finally, actually, following through. Thirty three articles of clothing, for 3 months. Think about it…
More reasons why we should simplify
5. “Eating You Alive” looks like an interesting movie. Check out the trailer.
There was a lot more that caught my eye this week. But one can only take in so much information at a time. If you feel moved, share one thing that inspired you in the comments below.