In the Northern Hemisphere the summer solstice takes place on the 21st June and is the longest day of the year. It’s a time to celebrate and honour the light as we come to a turning point between the seasons and welcome in summer. Summer is the season of abundance and growth with fields and gardens bursting into bloom providing us with a huge variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as beautiful flowers. It’s a time of raised energy alongside the sun’s light and is connected to the element of fire. Heat and fire are both powerful transformers, so summer solstice can be a great time let go, making space for growth. It’s a time to tap into our personal dreams and stoke our internal fire, fanning the flames of any budding projects or intentions to give them life.
Here are a few ideas of things you can do at summer solstice:
- Check in with yourself at this midpoint in the year. If you wrote any intentions for the New Year back in January then you could look back over them and see what’s been done, what is in motion or what still needs working on. You can use this time to give yourself some love and encouragement for things you have achieved during the first half of the year. Do note that sometimes these “achievements” don’t have to be big huge typically “successful” things. In really hard times in my life sometimes what I am most proud of is simply managing to feed myself or get out of bed, which can be more than “enough”. Wherever you are at right now, you are doing a great job. Also consider making a gratitude list for what has come so far in the year. As Yogi Bhajan says “The attitude of gratitude is the highest Yoga.”
- Set intentions for the second half of the year, planting seeds for what you hope to bring into fruition. You may even like to plant a real seed to tend to over the summer and put a little note in the soil of your intention. It can also be helpful to write intentions in the present tense to tap into the power of now as well as thinking about how you hope to feel e.g. rather than “I will develop a kinder way of speaking to myself” it would be “I am developing a kinder way of speaking to myself, this makes me feel safe” or instead of “I want to commit to regular exercise” it could be “I am committed to regular exercise to help me feel happy and healthy”. It’s also important to reflect on what actions you will need to take in order to turn these intentions into reality.
- Make a list of all the things that bring you joy, all the really fun things that maybe you don’t feel you have time for. With the longer days of summer perhaps you can fit in some of these things and this can be your go to list of things to do during the lighter, brighter months. I like to think of this as taking myself out on dates!
- Spend time out in nature. Being outdoors is so good for the soul and summer solstice can be the perfect time to get outside, whether that’s for a walk, meditation, Yoga practice, exercise or whatever else it is you may like to do outside.
- For Yoga practice, sun salutations are perfect as they honour the sun and also are an energising sequence that builds heat and energy in the body. For my Yoga practice at this time of year I also like to focus on the Manipura Chakra (Solar Plexus Chakra) which is our inner power source associated with willpower, determination, a sense of purpose and inner strength. It’s like our own sunshine inside! So to connect to this chakra I do strong postures like plank, warrior 1, 2 & 3, goddess stance, boat pose and core strengthening excercises/sequences. Kapalbhati is a great one to do for pranayama practice.
Of course, there are so many other things that you can do but there are some starting ideas of ways to honour the summer solstice and connect to Nature’s cycles. Let me know if you have anything in particular you like to do at this time of year, I’d love to hear about it! I wish you all a very happy summer solstice. Namaste.
Photographs taken outside the temple in Gokarna, India by Hogg Photography.