The summer solstice is upon us. On Thursday, June 21st, at 6:07 am, we will embrace the new season in the Northern Hemisphere. On this day, the sun travels its longest path through the sky, creating the “longest” day of the year, or more specifically, the day with the most daylight.
In its earliest translation, solstice means “the point at which the sun stands still.” For those of us residing in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s a reminder that summer is here, with more sunlight and warmer temperatures. We begin to spend more time outdoors and find ourselves looking for ways to cool our bodies down by swimming in cool waters, hiking through dense forests, and eating lighter foods.
It is a long held yoga tradition to practice 108 sun salutations on the summer and winter solstice. The number 108 is considered a sacred number. It is why malas are composed of 108 beads and why many pranayama practices are completed in cycles of 108. The distance between the Earth and sun is 108 times the diameter of the sun. Diving deeper into our own connection, we find that there are 108 energy lines, or nadis, converging to the heart chakra and 108 marmas, or pressure points, which are considered sacred parts of the body.
If you choose to practice 108 sun salutations, it is recommended that you break them into sets. Nine sets of twelve salutations works well, with a break of child’s pose or simply standing in mountain pose (Tadasana) and bringing awareness to stillness and breath. One nice way to keep track of your sets is to use pebbles or stones. Place 9 stones across the front of your mat. Each time you complete a set, place a stone to the right or left of the mat.
However you choose to celebrate this summer solstice, may you feel the warmth of the sun and the deep connection and support of community. Namaste’