On this International Day of Yoga we also celebrate the solstice.
What are you looking to do this summer? What will bring you joy?
With the Winter Solstice and our longest night, we welcome the re-emergence of the Sun. As the Sun is staging a comeback, we too can embrace the changing season and return to the light within ourselves.
With the falling of leaves, trees and the rest of nature is preparing to slow for the coming winter. We, as humans, on the other hand are preparing for a multitude of holidays.
I hope during this season, you can acknowledge you are perhaps overly busy and over committed. With that awareness, try then to find ways of slowing down. That might mean adjusting your schedule and giving yourself permission to say 'no', so you can begin tuning in to your body's own natural rhythm.
Yesterday, baking for me was all things pumpkin. With the arrival of fall in the US, we're reminded it's time to add back warm and cooked foods made from all of the incredible seasonal fruits and vegetables available. As we transition to the vata season of cooler temperatures with more wind, Ayurveda, yoga's sister science of medicine encourages reducing our consumption of raw vegetables and cold/frozen foods to help keep us healthy and grounded. Just as nature is making changes, so should we.
Be like a tree with roots deep and wide to hold us in place - a strong base of support so you're able to move with the wind or whatever comes your way, without falling.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of our own lives contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.
Today, as I harvested my Mason bee cocoons, I was once again reminded of what an incredible world we live in.
The Mason bee, a solitary, gentle, super-pollinator works tirelessly her whole life's cycle foraging for pollen and nectar. The female packs this food into a nesting cavity, which takes many, many trips. She lays an egg and once more begins making trips to seal it with mud before starting all over again. This pollen collecting and egg laying only takes place for a limited number of weeks every Spring. Meanwhile, the Mason bee larvae hatch and munch at the stored food in their cell and start to spin a cocoon. The mature bee will hibernate in its cocoon through the winter, only to emerge on those first warm days of Spring to begin a new cycle of life.
'We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.' Maria Montessori
I took my first pottery lesson recently and found it interesting that one of the first steps is to center the clay on the wheel. This important step allows the clay to move symmetrically 'from the rotating axis at the center of the wheel'.
Needless to say, centering is not as easy as I thought it might be. My clay had the 'wibble-wobbles', telling me I had not prepared it properly to begin spinning the wheel.
My attempts at centering clay brought to mind another 'first step' which occurs in a yoga class, also called centering. If we don't allow ourselves that initial brief time, we could be unfocused, having our own 'wibble-wobbles' throughout class.
So find that comfortable seat. Take that relaxing breath. Connect with your body without judgments or expectations. Release thoughts of the past or future and welcome yourself to the present.
Susan Kain is a Registered Yoga teacher, Pilates instructor, and a Certified Personal Trainer with classes for all ages from toddlers to senior citizens.