Five Ways to Shine Bright.
Summer solstice marks the point of year when our days are the longest and nights are the shortest.
It is traditionally a time for celebration and festivities.
Summer solstice is a time for us to revel in the warm weather, fresh crops and the life that is all around them.
We get to be outdoors more often enjoying our gardens, our blooming trees, our lakes and oceans and the animals in natural habitat with family and friends. We attend music festivals feeding our souls with energy and movement, smiles and laughter. We can gather herbs and set them out taking pleasure in their aroma and promoting healing within each breath.
Hundreds of years from the first solstice celebrations, festivities are still happening and in styles that best illustrate our individual self expression.
Summer solstice brings with it a natural transition with our diet, moving away from heavier winter foods into lighter, refreshing summer cuisine such as cold soups and nourishing salads. Our bodies need this change in order to keep cool, calm and balanced in the heat. In Ayurvedic terms our doshas require adjustment in diet during summer months to maintain equilibrium in our systems.
The yamas play important roles, too, during this time, opening us up to new possibilities, new ways of thinking and living our full potential.
First and foremost we must attribute this to ourselves.
Ahimsa means not causing pain or harm to anyone in any way. Thoughts turn into words which turn into actions and within ahimsa we can attain a passive manner in which we turn stormy or unfriendly thoughts into calm and peaceful ones.
Practicing ahimsa through summer solstice allows us to bring light into our minds therefore ceasing to cause pain even to ourselves.
Dishonesty with ourselves takes away our personal power.
With non-truth comes a sense of hiding something—from ourselves and others. It makes us feel less than who we are and can cause hurt, pain, harm.
Being honest with ourselves first allows us to bring forefront what’s going on inside. Once we look into our own mirror, lift the veil and begin to really see, we find that lies do not serve us well and begin to accept living more easily in truth.
Bring the warmth and light of summer solstice into the mirror and let the truth of yourself shine.
You will feel brighter, softer, stronger and freer.
Asteya incorporates many areas of our life, and in Western culture we’re in need of deeper and constant understanding of this yama.
Taking of someone’s possessions, ideas, work, bribes as gifts, time, environmental resources, are all types of stealing and all speak to asteya. Consider how we teach our children and remain childlike. If it is not ours in the first place, we must accept that no type of rationalization will change this fact. Greed feeds Westerners and coming back to simplicity aids greatly in our ability to apply asteya in daily living.
Keeping yourself light, truthful, and non-violent supports this yama and encourages a healthy lifestyle of respect toward ourselves and others.
Patanjali offers us this: “To one established in non-stealing, all wealth comes.”
Brahmacharya relates to sensual and sexual cravings and desires, however is also relative to any and all cravings and desires.
Moderation and balance is the key to our learning this yama and incorporating it into all aspects of our life.
During summer solstice we can tend to over-indulge in many areas, leaving caution to the wind. Be mindful this year of keeping a balance in relationships, food, drink, festivities. Enjoy yourself but also be respectful to yourself in order to maintain health, happiness and abundance. When we moderate in all activities that are pleasurable, they serve to fulfill and energize us.
Devi offers us this, “Devoted to living a balanced and moderate life, the scope of one’s life force becomes boundless.”
Aparigraha: non-greed, non-possessiveness.
Simply put: acknowledge your abundance!
During your time working with the yamas and enjoying summer solstice, simply contemplate just how abundant your life it right now.
It doesn’t matter if there are little things going on that seem challenging, that’s life.
What does matter—a lot—is whether you can persuade yourself to see all the good things you already have in your life.
Give thanks and gratitude for what you do have, what you have accomplished and achieved, what dreams you get to dream each day.
Give thanks from your heart center toward all those who are around you and support you.
Give thanks for the sunshine, the air we breathe, the moon’s glow and stars that shine.
Give thanks for each breath you breathe of clean fresh air, for each sip of water that whets your throat and cleanses your body, for each bite of nourishing food.
Give thanks for each smile and gesture of kindness someone offers you and, give thanks to yourself for each smile and gesture of kindness you offer to others.
Summer solstice means we are out in the world more each day, let yourself simply enjoy each moment not wanting anything more than that. Then see what comes floating in!
During summer solstice, let’s rise early in the morning greeting the sun as it begins to brighten the sky and relish in the light. Cleanse your body with a shower or bath, cleanse your mind, heart and spirit spending some time alone in quiet mediation, contemplating and integrating the yamas. Breathe in and out deeply to become light and centered. Integrating an early morning routine such as this will set the tone for your day, allowing an inner peace to pervade all your thoughts and feelings.
This is our yoga.
This is living yamas.
Let these aspects move you through your sunny days, and take notice of inner surrender that naturally occurs. Become consciously aware of the ease in which your life moves you, the effortless ebb and flow that occurs.
Allow summer solstice to be a time of stirring and arousing your true self; let yourself shine as brightly as the sun does each day and gather with others sharing and celebrating the season.
Melanie Dawn, RYT 200 aka ‘Mel’ opened SANGHAYOGA.CA in Airdrie, AB, CAN. She loves peace, freedom, motorcycles, big smiles and belly dancing. Yoga began moving through her at the age of nine and it only took 30 more to begin teaching! Yoga has been her constant conscience & guide even when she wasn’t conscious of it (thankfully!) Mel loves yoga – just playing with pose, working with breath, enjoying the harmony and spirit evoked through moving meditation. Her inspirational style of teaching accompanied by her strong yet soft voice flows effortlessly and keeps yogis “Reaching Higher Every Day”.
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Editor: Elysha Anderson