The following is a guest post from AstroYoga Specialist, Emily Ridout.
What is the significance of Summer Solstice?
The summer solstice is June 21. This is a moment when the Sun reaches its zenith in the Northern Hemisphere, marking the start to summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the start to winter in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Sun is a force essential to all life on earth. In one way or another, every living being is dependent on the Sun for life.
The Role The Sun Plays In Your Life
Consider your breath. If you really think about it, your breath nourishes you because the Sun nourishes the trees, who respire, creating the air you breathe. If you consider food, you’ll find the same is true, as the Sun nourishes the plants that make up most (if not all) of the human diet.
The Sun is important in many other ways as well, serving as the basis for time itself (days, years, calendars), as well as dictating the
role of the seasons, growing cycles, and climates we find ourselves in.
As well, the sun serves as a reminder of the power of the light to shine conscious awareness on any shadowy aspects of life, giving life-affirming illumination to any who ask. Much of the time when we practice yoga, this is what we are doing.
Using The Sun’s Energy To Fulfill Your Desires The Week Of Summer Solstice
Traditionally, the summer solstice is a day when yoga practitioners move through 108 sun salutes. This is one of the key astrological moments of the year.
It may seem obvious why sun salutes are practiced (we are offering gratitude and greetings to the sun), but why 108?
Why we practice 108 sun salutes
108 is a sacred number for so many reasons.
These reasons are too numerous to list here, but a few of my favorites are:
- There are 108 nadis (energy channels in the body) that merge in the heart chakra
- There are 9 traditional planets and 12 zodiac signs. 9 x 12 = 108
- The Matrika Malini (Sanskrit alphabet) has 54 letters, each with a masculine and feminine vibration. 54 + 54 = 108
- Traditional malas (meditation beads) have 108 beads
- In numerology, 108 relates to the number 9, which symbolizes spiritual fulfillment. It also contains 1, the number of focus and unity; 0, the number of the potentiality of the divine in any moment; and 8, the number of strength and yoking the body and higher mind together as one
- There are 108 names for god in yoga
You Can Also Practice 9 Salutes For Summer Solstice If 108 Feels Like A Lot
So this summer solstice, I invite you to do 108 sun salutes. If 108 seems like a lot, you can also simply practice 9 sun salutes. There are 12 postures in a sun salute, and 9 x 12 = 108
One thing is certain, a regular practice consisting of several sun salutes will super charge not only your solstice, but your entire summer season!