Summer officially begins here in the northern hemisphere with the Summer Solstice on June 20, 2012. I’ll be celebrating, along with thousands of NYC yogis, in the heart of Manhattan’s Times Square on Wednesday evening. I did some research to get to the bottom of the big deal about the solstice. This will be my first solstice yoga event and I really didn’t know anything about its significance!
Here’s what I learned (please leave comments if I’m leaving anything out!):
- The word solstice comes from the Latin solstitium (from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop)), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop.
- On solstice day, the Sun does not rise precisely in the east, but rises to the north of east, and sets to the north of west, allowing it to be in the sky for a longer period of time.
- It is directly overhead at its most northern point at 12:00 noon, which creates more sunlight (in the Northern Hemisphere) on this day then any other (making it the longest day of the year).
- A review of history shows that many cultures associated the summer solstice with a renewal of mind, body and spirit.
- The Sun represents fire, detoxification, and purification. More sunlight=more solar energy= transformation!
- The day can be considered the turning point of the year, the half-way point, so it is a good time for reflection and meditation.
Whatever is dreamed on this night, will come to pass
William Shakespeare, From A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Catch some rays! (but don’t forget the sunscreen)