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!
Last week I wrote about why I no longer detox. I have found it to be a better choice for me to work on eating a fairly clean diet most of the time, meaning I eat a whole foods plant based diet most every day. I occasionally l consume what some might dub “junk food”- meaning cupcakes, or chips, or perhaps other processed foods once a month, or even less. I do not eat any animal products at all, nor do I drink alcohol, nor do I ingest any kind of recreational drug or other substance. I will repeat some of what I wrote about last week as I believe it to be so very important: I find that those substances (alcohol and other intoxicants) do not help me on my yogic path, or even just on my regular happy life path. They do not help me to see or to think clearly, and they are very hard on internal organs such as the kidneys, livers, and even the brain. Any presumed “benefits” which are questionable to begin with, are not balanced by their very obvious negative side effects, this is especially the case with alcohol. You can read more about the scientific studies that led to solidify my stance on these decisions regarding alcohol and other common intoxicants. As I said in that previous post, there is significant evidence showing that there is no safe limit to these intoxicants, and so they are not a part of my life.
Whole plant foods however, are big players in my daily life. These days you can hear our beloved Vitamix blender going off several times in the morning. All winter long we ate boring old oatmeal, but starting in early March, Josh, Ellessia, and I have been happily consuming smoothies again. Ellessia got me into smoothie bowls. I had never tried them before. She was looking at them online and thought they were beautiful and fun. When I saw hers, I agreed so I jumped in (figuratively of course). We have been having a great time with these fun new ways to have smoothies in the mornings! You can try this out too: mix and match the greens, berries, toppings and other extras to your preference. You can even replace the banana with an avocado and still get that creamy smoothie effect.
Yogi Smoothie Bowl Recipe
1 cup of your favorite greens: spinach, kale, romaine, whatever your prefer
1/4 cup of berries: Blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries, etc…
1 Date (remove pit)
1 Cup or Water or Non-Dairy milk of choice
Chopped peaches or Chopped Mango also make nice additions to the smoothie.
Other extras: 1 tsp of Maca powder, and or 1 tsp of Moringa powder, and or, 1 Tbsp of Hemp powder or Hemp seeds
Possible toppings for your smoothie bowl: More hemp seeds, goji berries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, dried mulberries, dried cranberries, shredded coconut, bran flakes
Blend all the ingredients together. Then, pour into your favorite bowl and add the toppings. The fun part of the smoothie bowl is adding toppings and arranging them. The green color of the smoothie contrasts nicely with the bright berries. Then you eat this just like cereal! I have been pouring some of the smoothie into a jar to have later in the day, or even the next morning. It seems to save well in the fridge.
I hope you have fun making your own smoothie bowls and share your ingredients with me!
“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.
Going Gray: Inspiration
*photo credit: http://waytofamous.com/22043-marian-seldes.html
I find it important to stay inspired while pursuing any new endeavor. By learning about the journey of others and how they have navigated a path, I find new ideas to test out and new thoughts to consider. As an artist and creator, I also find inspiration in the artistic expression of others.
My yoga students often give me thoughtful and inspiring surprise gifts. About a year ago, a dear student gave me the book “Wise Woman, ” by photographer Joyce Tenneson. What a treasure of a book. It is a collection of photographs of women over 40, combined with inspiring quotes and thoughts on their life. It was a fitting gift considering my website title of “Powerful Woman Yoga,” but it is even more fitting now on my going gray journey as many women in the book reflect on the idea of dyeing hair.
Here are the words of the late actress Marian Seldes:
“My grandmother always used to say, ‘If you know your part and you know where you have to go, why do you rehearse?’ I always remember this, and it’s true. You have to start each day again- you can’t repeat what you did. When I let my hair go gray I felt an enormous freedom. All those years of having my hair dyed- why do we do that?”
Are you dyeing your hair, or thinking of going gray? Let me know your thoughts and inspiration in the comments below.
I am so proud of Myriad Yoga Teacher Training’s 300 hour graduates! They have worked extra hard, juggling homework, 108 yoga classes, Kirtan, workshops to manage, and so much more, over the past 18 months. These lady are an inspiration in so many ways. It has been an honor to work with them.
Pictured above: Jyl Bradley, Kristi Veverka, Paige Jarvis, Jenny Armstrong, Kim Wenger-Hall, and Ruth Ticknor.
Congratulations 300 Hour Graduates!