Sunday, June 21, 2009

Honoring the Sun

Summer solstice is a celebration of the longest day of the year. It is a time of light, but it is the beginning of days becoming shorter and moving toward darkness. Light and darkness are opposites but they work together. We cannot know light without knowing darkness and we cannot know darkness without knowing light. These opposites complement each other in a symbiotic way.

There are four times in the cycle of a year that have unique turning points. The Summer Solstice, the Winter Solstice marking the longest night and the Spring and Fall Equinox where the days and nights are exactly equal in length.

The solstices test the edges. The days and nights cannot get any longer. There has to be a return to the middle. The opposite is seeking balance. The equinoxes find the perfect balance. But this perfect balance cannot be maintained for long either. So the cycle continues and repeats itself - testing the edges and returning to balance.

This cycle is mirrored in yoga practice and in life. We test the edges, we test our limits. The edges are where we learn but this is also where we need to change direction and move back toward the center. Just as the summer solstice lasts only one day, we do not stay at the edge.

In yoga we move into our poses slowly with awareness and sensitivity. We reach the edge with a softening and expansion, enjoy a taste of that edge and then gently move away with the breath. We can retest the edge but it is not a place to linger. Just as nature pulses, we pulse with our breath.

With a fiery core with an expansive light, the sun illuminates and gives life. In yoga move from your core, your belly, your fiery center and expand outward. On an inhalation fill up with the energy of the sun feeling an inner brightness and fullness. Feel the inner lightness radiate outward. On the exhalation. soften and let go. Just as the sun is a source of renewable energy, respect your edges so you do not burn out or injure yourself. Return to your center to renew and rejuvenate yourself. Feel your inner light align with the brilliance of the sun. We are all manifestations of the same energy. Let the sun inspire your heart to be open and free.

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