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  • Writer's pictureBara Vaida

Summer solstice practices

In the northern hemisphere, tomorrow is the summer solstice and the official start of summer. In the Washington, D.C. area, we’ll experience almost 16 hours of visible light, which is something to honor and celebrate. The days will now slowly become shorter until we reach the winter solstice in December.

This is a good moment to revisit intentions and perhaps set new ones for the coming months. While I was researching the history of the solstice, I found it interesting to learn some ancient Greek calendars considered the summer solstice the first day of the new year. Though I don’t tend to set new year’s resolutions, I do like the idea of linking days on the calendar to times of reflection. Here’s some more history on the summer solstice in various cultures.

Yogis celebrate the summer solstice in multiple ways – from the physical by practicing sun salutations (see this Yoga International article on how to practice accessible sun salutations that won’t hurt your wrists and knees) to the internal – such as Kundalini yoga and meditation, which involves fiery breathwork and chanting (see this video by my friend and fellow D.C. yoga teacher Anna Franklin.)

You can also combine movement and breath work and take a walking meditation with bare feet. Being able to ditch the shoes is among my favorite things about summer. Feel the warmth or coolness of grass, sand or dirt beneath the feet. Slow down and focus on a process we usually take for granted. Listen to a walking meditation I recorded and try this one by Sharon Salzberg, a Buddhist meditation teacher who wrote: Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World.

Enjoy the solstice!


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