As the longest day of the year arrives, the Sun remains an unchanging presence, constancy in the face of disruption and change. It is life-giving, life-sustaining and essential for the creative growth of life on the planet.
All this time
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe Me.”
Look what happens
With a love like that,
It lights the
Re-entering, expanding and shining your light
The summer solstice is a good moment to re-assess our lives as we transition into a new season. It’s a new season in many ways, as we begin to come out of the year of hibernation and wariness in the face of a global pandemic. In many ways, this new phase has even greater challenges as we re-negotiate our relationships, habits and connections in the world. Many of us are still coping with residual anxieties and fears as we are embracing the new beginnings.
As we explore this new phase, we learn let go of old habits we have acquired during the last year, and embrace our capacity to awaken and light up the world again with our presence. As we embrace the physical practice of yoga, we feel the stability of the earth beneath us, we move in rhythm with the breath and we feel strength and stability in the body. As we move into the new season we remember that whatever happens, we always have the breath to calm, energize or focus our minds and bodies.
Finding warmth and light with kindred spirits
As we return to practicing yoga in person, we rediscover the feeling of warmth and safety in the presence of others. We are aware that we have all changed in some way as a result of the pandemic, and we commit to honoring each person’s journey.
Recognizing our connections with each other, we can seek to share our light and warmth with others through kindness and generosity. We are so much more aware now of how we need each other. Our yoga practice can renew and focus our energies to support each other, refreshing a sense of the ties that bind us together.
Lightening up and discarding excess “weight”
As we re-awaken our communal yoga practice, we move our bodies and leave the inertia and hibernating behind. We release what is no longer needed, in body and mind. The sun symbolizes this – offering its warmth, light and life-giving energy to all.
“Think light! Try to impart a feeling of lightness to the body. Think light. This can be achieved by mentally extending yourself outwards from the center of the body, i.e., think tall. Think not just of raising your arms but of extending them outwards, and when you are holding them still, think again of reaching still farther away from your body. Do not think of yourself as a small, compressed suffering thing. Think of yourself as graceful and expanding, no matter how unlikely it may seem at the time.”
Let your path be lighter and brighter
Find an attitude of gratitude and generosity – and re-connect with us in this life-giving, evolving practice of yoga which is different each time you step on the mat. No matter where you find yourself, remember that you always have your breath, and the sun still shines its warmth and light. As Hafiz also says, “I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.” So let your path be lighter and brighter!
Joanna Dudley, E-RYT 200, MSW, LCSW