Namaste as Growing Up On OM officially welcomes you to summer!
Today was the Summer Solstice – the first official day of summer (although, I don’t know about you, but I feel like summer started a while ago). The first day of summer comes simultaneously as a relief (Yay! There is time still!) and a sign that it’s time to put the pressure on those intentions for new beginnings. As a yoga teacher, the Solstice – especially in NYC – feels even more salient than a national holiday; it’s the yogi’s international holiday!
The following is how I spent the longest day of the year.
6am Wake up to Sun Salutations.
8:30am Open up Harlem Yoga Studio for Solstice-celebrating yogis.
1pm Take a yoga class at my beloved Laughing Lotus set to the tune of French music (to celebrate the World Cup) and listen to teachers in the lobby chat about how easy it is to teach during the Solstice (a built-in theme!). I also purchased a “Pitta-pacifying” t-shirt a la Ali’s request so that I wouldn’t kindle that Times Square fiery personality while giving hands-on assists.
6:45pm Prep and glitter everyone up in the middle of Times Square for Sri Ali Cramer’s Solstice Yoga class.
8pm Provide hands-on assists to hundreds of bodies during the most inspiring assisting mOMent of my life.
I would like to close this longest day of the year by re-reading the quote that I read as my students transitioned out of savasana this morning, by Sara Avant-Stover, author of The Way of the Happy Woman (this was not-so-coincidentally also the book Ali had us read for Ayurveda training…and it all comes full circle):
Bare feet, watermelon, sunburns, and sipping Chardonnay on the deck under the stars: all reflect summer’s freedom, joy, and playfulness. On June 21 in the northern hemisphere (and on December 21 in the southern), the summer solstice burns brightly as the longest day of the year — so bright that in northern lands such as Alaska and Scandinavia, the sun never even sets that evening. From this point onward, the sun’s yang energy slowly wanes, as do the daylight hours, until we reach the darkest point in the yearly spectrum, the winter solstice. The impermanence of this bright day signifies the earth’s biggest inhalation of the year and reminds us to celebrate and relish all of life ’s pleasures by drinking them into every cell of our bodies.
Just as a child savors each day of her summer vacation, counting down the days until her return to school, we also must become more present and more attuned to the warmth, colorfulness, fecundity, and juiciness of this season through even the simplest of pleasures. It’s time to partake in nature ’s flourishing and to celebrate all the ways in which our lives are blossoming too.
Namaste and may your Summer flourish and bloom,