June 21 is the Summer Solstice, which reminds us to turn inward and find the nourishment needed to grow and evolve. It is a time to pause and wait for the energy planted in the Spring to reach full bloom. After the Solstice, the northern hemisphere begins tilting away from the sun and the days start growing shorter again. Don’t let that get you down. Prepare for the rest of the summer by using these ideas to make the most out of the energy of the Solstice. There’s lots of summer left to enjoy!
Set summer resolutions. Create a list of things you’d like to do this summer. It can be as easy as making a new recipe (I’ve decided I need to perfect a flourless chocolate cake!) or taking a trip to a nearby place you haven’t been to or maybe just haven’t visited in a while (I would like to go back to the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art in Sedalia).
Find a place to go swimming. There’s no better way to get into the groove of summer than jumping in the water and having some fun at the pool, lake, or beach. Being in or near the water can lead to feelings of relaxation, lower stress and anxiety, and lower heart and breathing rate. During a swim, endorphins are released that affect the prefrontal and limbic areas of the brain involved in emotional processing and create feelings of euphoria, well-being, and peace.
Greet the sun with early morning yoga. You don’t have to do a lot of poses or spend a lot of time. Maybe just take a few deep breaths as you reach your hands up into the sky. Clasp your hands together overhead and lean to the left and then to the right, stretching out the sides of your body. This helps energy to flow through your body more easily during the rest of the day. If morning yoga sounds appealing, check out my 21-day Summer Sunrise, July 10 – 30. Centered around the ethical practices of yoga, this series is a powerful way to rebalance your energies, connect with the deeper practices of yoga, and get a good workout.
Plan a picnic outside in nature. You can do this in your backyard, of course, but you might want to find a new spot in the woods or a park that helps you feel a little more festive and gives you a change of scenery. Invite some friends and make it even more like a party.
Try an Energy Medicine Yoga Class. This Wednesday (6/21), the day of the Solstice, I will be leading a special Summer Solstice Class at 5:30 p.m. Central Time. You can take the class online or, if you can’t make it, I will send you the recording. Here is the link to register for this week’s class and my other offerings.
Get your hands and feet on the earth. I am outside almost every day working in the garden. There is something palpable that happens when you get your hands in the dirt. Stress begins to seep out of me and into the earth. When possible, I do this barefoot. Both activities ground your energy and help you feel calmer and more balanced.
Let go of what’s not serving you. Write down any behaviors or grievances you want to put behind. Don’t try to do too many things at once. Pick one behavior or grievance that you are ready to let go of. Imagine putting it in your hands in a tight fist, circling your arms around, and throwing it down with a loud sound like “SHHH!” Give it to the earth. Repeat as necessary. Use the solstice as a time to let go of the old and move forward with a cleaner slate.
Find an outdoor location to listen (and dance!) to music. There’s not much I like better than listening to music under the sun. Get your body moving to the beat and feel the energy and sounds of summer soothing your soul. Around here, you can go to Rocheport, Cooper’s Landing, or Rose Music to catch some outdoor music events.
I hope these ideas get you started on a brighter, more joyful summer ahead. I hope to see you out and about! If you have any questions about my yoga offerings, please don’t hesitate to email me or check out my website.