Nature is full of patterns and we humans love finding them, creating them, repeating them. This is the core of ritual, which is the repetition of words or actions deemed worthy of representing something bigger than ourselves. My view is that all over the world and across time, these are all a form of art, an elaborate performance or a secret poem, all vital in their ability to help us face the nature of time and change.
- Sasha Sagan, "For Small Creatures Such as We: Rituals for Finding Meaning in Our Unlikely World"
One of my favorite aspects of keeping a regular Ayurveda Practice is the rituals that surround it. In Ayurveda, we have what is called Dinacharya, which means “Daily Routines”, and Ritucharya, which means “Seasonal Routines”. There are specific asana, pranayama, mantra, mudra, and dietary recommendations for certain days and seasons. Jyotish astrology, a branch of Ayurveda, goes even further and recognizes the planetary influence on each day of the week. I explored that in my most recent show, Yoga and Ayurveda. Each day of the week is associated with a planet with specific qualities, so certain activities are recommended to “appease” the planet and court its favor.
Cultures around the world lean into ritual as a way to sanctify events and create reverence for both the developed and natural world. Think of the ritual of getting a kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve, or wishing on a shooting star. These actions remind us that the events in our lives deserve attention. It’s almost like taking an internal snapshot, elevating a moment as a way of creating memory and imprinting the passage of time into our mind’s eye.
On Tuesday June 21, 2022, we will come around again to our Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. In 2014, I was fortunate enough to teach the closing Sunset Flow for Solstice Times Square, an annual event in the heart of New York City. It was incredible to be in the middle of one of the loudest, most active places in the world and look out over the 3,000 people choosing to stop traffic (legally!) and sit in meditation together. We moved together, breathed and sweated together, chanted Om, and did Diamond heart Mudra together. The energy was powerful, and there were intentions set, tears shed, laughter, smiles - the natural outcome when we come together and practice Yoga as a way of inspiring each other to our Greatest Good.
This year, we may not be able to gather in close quarters with 3,000 of our closest friends. However, we can still create a ritual for ourselves or to share with close friends or family members. Here are some suggestions. Feel free to get creative and add or subtract as you feel moved:
May we remember we are a reflection of that which we see around us. May the brilliant Light of Knowledge infuse our Practice and our Life with Peace. Blessings on your Solstice!
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