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Yoga & Summer Solstice: how can you benefit?

This week is a particularly important one in the yogic world.  The Summer Solstice falls on 21 June, as well as International Yoga Day.  Of course that is no coincidence!  The United Nations declared this longest day of the year as the day to celebrate the ancient mind/body practice of Yoga because it understands the significance of the sun in the yogic sense.

The word "solstice" literally means "to stand still".  The sun has reached it's highest peak before it begins reversing it's direction and it's energy slowly begins to decline. 

There are many ways that we can harness the powerful energy of the sun at this time. Read on for some practical tips on how we can draw upon this solar energy to our benefit.

Ask yourself some questions Take some time to acknowledge your achievements - no matter how small they may seem - and also your disappointments. Ask yourself how you may "re-centre" yourself to get back on track to achieve an important goal.  Ask yourself what one small step could you take towards getting closer to this goal.  It may be to make a phone call, send an email, sign-up for a course or put a few euros aside.  

Get outdoors For many reasons, spending time outdoors is vital for our physical & mental health. We get most of our Vitamin D from the sun and this is vital for positive mental health as well as healthy bones. Take some mindful walks when you tune into the sounds of nature, whether that's the uplifting birdsong, the soothing sea or the sounds of the young farmland animals so abundant in Ireland.  Just get out and let the solar energy work it's magic!

Ignite your own inner "sun" In yogic terms we all have own inner sun - known as the "manipurna chakra".  This is located above our navel and just below the lower ribs.  This is thought to be the source of our drive, will and literally our "fire" to achieve our goals to live a life we enjoy.   There are different ways that we can stoke our own inner sun to feel greater drive, energy, clarity and joy in a few ways. Some of my own favourites include getting out of my comfort zone and doing something that scares me!  We all need that fire in the belly to keep us motivated, engaged and energised!  Others are dancing and doing anything creative - whether it's cooking, writing or being in the creative energy of nature.  And of course Yoga is a great tool to help boost our inner fire. Which leads me to my final tip!

Do some Sun Salutations Sun salutes, or Surya Namaskar, aren't just about perfecting your downward dog or plank pose!  The ancient practice of sun salutations was originally intended as a way to greet the sun and give thanks to it's powerful life-giving force.  It's a few sacred moments to "breathe-in" our positive intention and to "breathe-out" our worries and fears. 

I hope that you have found some inspiring ways to help you find greater clarity, energy and drive to get closer to your own personal goals for the next part of the year.

Wishing you a very happy International Yoga Day for Thursday!

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