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Yoga and the Summer Solstice

There's something so wonderful about tuning into the rhythms and cycles of nature. I love to use the changing seasons as themes in my yoga classes as I love aligning my own practice and that of my students with the energies inherent in the universe and it also serves as a wonderful reminder of how closely linked we are to nature.

This Sunday 21st June 2015 marks the Summer Solstice and the longest day of the year. Here - near London - the sun will rise at around 4.43am and will set around 9.21pm and from the following day the days will slowly start to draw in. The summer solstice is a natural turning point in nature and represents the height of summer. It is an excellent time to take stock of your life and make any changes you feel you need to make in order to achieve your goals. I like to use all these seasonal turning points as opportunities to revisit any goals set at the start of the year that have yet to be fulfilled.

Use the Summer Solstice as a time for reflection on which direction you want your life to go in. Set an intention for the second half the year - something positive for your life - and focus on what you wish to nurture and develop over the coming months. A nice way to do this is to take 5 or 10 minutes sitting quietly - perhaps even on the morning of the Summer Solstice itself - and just focus on your intention. Quiet down your thoughts, focus on your breath until you feel calm and then in your mind's eye visualise your intention. Remember the adage "Energy flows where Attention goes" and be reassured that bringing your awareness and focus to something you wish to happen in your life can be the start of positive change.

It is also tradition to perform 108 Sun Salutations in the morning (possibly at sunrise if you're an early riser!) on the day of the Summer Solstice. As the number 108 is a sacred number in Buddhism and some Eastern traditions so this number is considered auspicious at the Summer Solstice as a way to honour the start of summer and celebrate this shift of the seasons. If the full 108 rounds seems a little intense for you even a handful of sun salutations upon waking would be a lovely way to honour this turning point in nature...


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