Yogastronomy: Rare Summer Solstice Full Moon

On June 20 it's time to party down ritual-style people and enjoy the summer solstice and a full moon. The beloved sunny season is (almost) here and with it some time to reflect on who we are, why we are here, and... Gosh darn it thank you sun for this thing called life.

Let's all take a deep, deep bow to the glorious star, the hot ball of flame that sustains us mysteriously each and every day.

When the semi-axis of Earth is most inclined toward our life-sustainer, the sun gives us in the Northern Hemisphere the summer solstice… The longest day of sunlight around June 20–22 each year (exact date varies depending on the year and your time zone). In the Southern Hemisphere it will be the winter solstice.

The Importance of Ritual

Something I’ve learned and observed through many teachers is the importance of ritual and celebration for all of us to enjoy, and the need to experience deeply this mysterious thing called life. But in the modern world, many of us have lost touch with the rituals that help us celebrate, stop, and appreciate life with our communities.

Collectively there are snippets of a reconnecting and relearning of this importance of ritual. We're uncovering how to take time to create and experience traditions from indigenous cultures who have continued many different rituals for seasons, solstices, equinoxes, birthdays, and so on.

The beauty of this is that there is more than enough room to ignite the old solstice rituals such as Midsummer or St. John's Day, and create our own rituals—many of which are emerging surrounding culture, spirituality, and fun. Modern summer solstice celebrations such as International Surfing Day, which honors the beauty of surfing while showing gratitude and care for the ocean; Fête de la Musique, a musical celebration of the solstice; and super-fun for yogis: the United Nations-recognized International Day of Yoga.

“To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.” – David Viscott

Rare Summer Solstice Full Moon

This year there is a rare full moon on the summer solstice. So we'll have the full moon shining bright and the sun shining bright this June! According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac and Astronomical Tables of the Sun, Moon, and Planets the last time there was a full moon on the summer solstice was June 21, 1986. Data shows that this rare occurrence has happened about seven other times since the summer solstice on June 20, 1796.

This summer solstice is a time to see the truth within and around us, and to offer thanks for these two amazing space spheres, both sustaining us in their own unique ways. Take time to connect in your way. Offer up gratitude to the sun, moon, and teachers. Solstices offer a time to slow down, contemplate, and thank the universe for this wild thing called life.  

Check out our show on Slooh for more on this full moon solstice on June 20, 8:00 p.m. EDT.

A Practice for the Solstice

Here are a few fun pose suggestions to try out on your own or in a community—wherever your energy grows brighter and more beautiful.

  • Surya Namaskara: There are many Sun Salutation variations to chose from to celebrate this solstice!
  • In Savasana: lay on the earth in meditation, utilize dirgha or three-part breath, and contemplate themes of light, polarities, celebration, unity, and give thanks to the sun!
  • Sufi Spinning: Spin standing, arms extended, palms uplifted, counter-clockwise, to honor the planetary rotation and sync up with the cosmic energy of sacred circling.

Slooh will also be at Wanderlust Stratton this summer solstice weekend. Come out and celebrate with us at our two classes on June 18 with Bob Berman and Helen Avery.

Of this year’s Slooh classes at Wanderlust Stratton, Helen says: “With a ritual, a consecration, and a meditation on our connection to the sun within the universe, we are going to be experiencing the sun as body, mind, and spirit. Astronomer, Bob Berman, will be talking about the creation of our solar system, about the sun as giver of light, and our experience of light as color.”

Thank you sun! How will you honor this full moon solstice? Share in the comments below.

This article was written by Ali Grimes for Slooh. Ali is a stargazer, yogi, Montessori school fundraiser, mindfulness teacher, and mother of two rascals who is straight-up loving creating a bridge between astronomy and yoga, along with her buddies at Slooh. Check out Ali’s upcoming Astro-Yoga classes at Lumeria on Maui, Tuesdays 6:00-7:30 p.m. Follow Ali on Instagram @Ali_G_Sparkle.

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