Tuesday 21st June is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, when the sun is furthest away from the equator, reaching the highest point in the sky, and shines for the most amount of time - this is known as the Summer Solstice, and has throughout history been marked in different ways and has its own set of customs. Some based on practical needs, other stemming from spiritual beliefs.
Revered for thousands of years as the original form of god, the sun not only warms us and enables everything on earth to thrive, but signifies an ever-present power and giver of life. Civilisations from the Mayans to the Egyptians, ancient India and China, the Romans, Mexicans, Peruvians, and of course here in the UK have worshiped the sun and created rituals around it and the Summer Solstice.
The Summer Solstice reminds us to celebrate the nourishing light of the Sun, and correspondingly the light within each of us (for more on this, take a look at our recent blog on Sun Salutations https://www.thestudiobartlow.co.uk/post/foundations-of-yoga-sun-salutations ). On this day, the sun’s light and energy is at its peak. This is the moment of our year when there is the most light available to us. Everything has been growing, rising, and the earth is abundant. Just look outside to nature - its ripening, flourishing and life is everywhere to be seen. And just as nature is overflowing, so can we, by connecting to this time of the year and raising our energies and receptivity to abundance in all of its forms.
Today we spend less time outside than ever before (see our blog post on the benefits of being outside for more information on this https://www.thestudiobartlow.co.uk/post/the-natural-way-why-spending-time-outside-feels-so-good ), but even in modern times we have an inherent and natural human instinct to connect to the sun and celebrate the longest day of the year.
Below are some ideas for rituals, practices and activities for celebrating the Summer Solstice, connecting with the sun’s energy, and reveling in the abundance of nature:
1. Get outside and bask in the sun’s rays
Whether it’s a morning cup of tea or coffee, a stroll in the sunshine, a bike ride in the countryside, or lounging in a deckchair reading a good book, there are numerous benefits to getting some time in the sun. Read our previous blog post https://www.thestudiobartlow.co.uk/post/the-natural-way-why-spending-time-outside-feels-so-good for more information on the benefits of getting more natural sunlight in our daily lives.
2. Delicious fresh fruit
The longest day of the year is the perfect time to enjoy seasonal fruit, ripened in the sunshine. We recommend locally grown, organic fruit if possible to reap the full benefits of all the nutrients packed into the produce. We love Nourish Linton https://www.nourishlinton.com/ for all of our fruit and veg needs here at The Studio.
3. Practice Sun Salutations
It is considered auspicious to practice Sun Salutations, or Surya Namaskar at the Summer Solstice, as a way to connect with the powerful solar energies at their height on this day of the year. Surya Namaskar translates as a bow or adoration to the sun, so there could be no more perfect way to celebrate the Summer Solstice! Traditionally, Sun Salutations are practiced at dawn, facing east in the direction of the rising sun. But for a more practical modern day approach, we recommend practicing Sun Salutations outside bathing in the morning or midday sunlight.
At The Studio’s Summer Retreat, we will practice Sun Salutations outside in the beautiful Cambridgeshire countryside, basking in the summer sunshine (weather permitting…). For more info on our Summer Retreat, visit here https://www.thestudiobartlow.co.uk/service-page/summer-retreat?referral=service_list_widget>
4. Flower arranging
Flowers are another one of nature’s bounties in the summer months. A wonderful way to celebrate the Summer Solstice is with flower arranging. Here at The Studio, we are firm believers that so many activities, crafts and creative pursuits are practices of meditation and mindfulness, where we can connect fully with the present moment by being completely focused on the task at hand.
Join us and Elly’s Flower Studio at The Studio’s Summer Retreat for a hand tied summer flower bouquet workshop. Learn how to make a beautiful wild summer hand tied gift bouquet filled with gorgeous seasonal flowers. For more information on this event, please go here!
These are just a few ideas for different practices and rituals to celebrate the Summer Solstice. At The Studio, we are hosting a Summer Retreat in honour of this wonderful time of the year. In our Summer Retreat, we will connect with nature and celebrate the life-giving power of the sun with a half day of yoga, meditation and flower arranging. Join us on Sunday 26th June, 10am-3pm at The Studio, Bartlow. Tickets are limited so book your ticket now to avoid disappointment!