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Five Pillars Yoga

Tune Into The Summer Solstice and Full Moon

A Simple and Moving Meditation to Harness Some Big Energies

The stars are aligned. Today the sun reaches its highest peak in the Northern Hemisphere — the summer solstice — making it the longest day of the year and the official start of summer. In a rare celestial coincidence (once or twice in a lifetime), the moon is also full tonight, meaning the sky will be illuminated all day and all night.

Full moons are powerful times for manifestation and purification practices. A major cosmic event like the summer solstice — a day that marks the transition from one season to the next — is another time to sit back and tune in. Today’s external forces create a potent platform for meditation or quiet reflection.

There’s even a word for the relationship between our external and internal landscapes:

zeit·ge·ber  \ˈtsītˌɡābər,ˈzīt-/

noun, PHYSIOLOGY

A cue given by the environment, such as a change in light or temperature, to reset the internal body clock.

In other words, the world is moving with you in it. You can resist nature’s energy or embrace it.

Here’s a simple and grounding practice for harnessing the sun’s energy and the moon’s wisdom.

If you have an altar or sacred space in your home (we wrote about creating sacred space here), set yourself up there. Or, since the sun and the moon are bringing their A-games, today would be a wonderful time to practice or meditate outside.

Begin in Child’s Pose. Take several long breathes, eyes closed, arms outstretched, heart sinking toward the floor.

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When you feel grounded and collected, press up and back into downward facing dog (you don’t need a mat or even yoga clothes). Walk your feet slowly to your hands and rise up to stand. Set an intention to honor and thank the sun. From here take at least one Sun Salute, Surya Namaskar.

The Sanskrit word namaskar comes from namas, which means “to bow to” or “to adore,” and surya is the sun. We can’t think of a better day to bow to the sun and honor our own illumination.

Finish in Tadasana, Mountain Pose, hands at prayer. Let your heart settle.

Next, Take a comfortable seat for Alternate Nostril Breath. Just as the sun is hot and fiery and the moon is calm and cool, so are we. Alternate Nostril Breath harmonizes and balances both aspects of our personality and prana bodies; it’s a pranayama designed to bring our inner fire into right relationship with our lunar nature. Set a timer so you don’t have to worry about how long you’ve been there. Close your eyes and sink in.

At the end of your breathwork, settle into a grounded seat. You can set the timer to minimize distractions and let the eyes close again. Sit with any intentions you may have for this new season.

  • What do you want to call in?
  • What no longer serves you?
  • In this bright and boisterous time ahead, how do you want to channel the sun’s energy?

Sit for as long as you like. The sun’s not going anywhere.

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Top photo from Kino Yoga; moon photo by aerospace engineer Jim Nickelson