"Feel the cool grass or dirt underneath your feet. Close your eyes and reach your arms out, tilt your head up to the sky and take a few deep belly breaths. Feel the sun kissing your face and mentally say a few thoughts of gratitude for your life and for the season." -Amrit-Sadhana Khalsa
Summer Solstice is a powerful time to set intentions for the season ahead. With the support of medicinal herbs and mindful practices, Amrit shows us how we can connect with nature and ourselves more deeply on this day.
A note from Amrit-Sadhana
Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year... Growing up, we celebrated the solstice like a holiday. Rising early, with the sun to do yoga, meditate and set intentions. Because the sun is at the highest point above the equator, Summer Solstice creates an opening for positive intentions and a powerful time to connect with your light. It is a time of growth and reaping what you sew.
Creating a Summer Solstice ritual of your own can be simple with little to no cost. To connect with the fire energy outside as well as ignite your fire within, start your day by stepping outside. Feel the cool grass or dirt underneath your feet. Close your eyes and reach your arms out, tilt your head up to the sky and take a few deep belly breaths. Feel the sun kissing your face and mentally say a few thoughts of gratitude for your life and for the season. If you want to do this practice outside, be conscious of an open flame if you are in a fire zone or just do it without the candle:
Find yourself in seated position. Light a candle, grab your journal and if you have a deck of cards and some crystal you’d like to meditate with, grab those as well.
Summer Solstice Meditation
Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit outside. Light your candle and burn some palo santo to clear your energy before meditating. Close your eyes and place your hands in prayer pose at your heart. Begin to feel yourself in your body. Feel your legs pressing into the earth underneath you, feel the warmth of the sun kissing your eyelids and cheekbones, feel your palms pressing together at your heart.
Begin to inhale and exhale deeply; filling and emptying your lungs. Connect with the space between the inhale and exhale at the top and the exhale and inhale at the bottom. Feel the space between the breaths. Continue the deep breathing for several cycles until you feel yourself fully connected into your body. Now begin to visualize your happiest you, your most glowing you. What do you look like? How do you feel? What does the world look like around you? Dream big! What kind of home do you live in? What job are you filling your days with? Do you have a partner, are you single? Sit with this image of yourself for as long as feels good to you.
Then from that happiest you, set your intentions for the summer months. Maybe it is to get outside everyday, to take a vacation with yourself or your loved ones, maybe it is to garden and get your hands in the dirt. Set your deepest desires for this next season. Feel them in your body, feel them from your highest self. When you are done setting your intentions, take a few more deep breaths and open your eyes.
Grab your journal and write about your experience. Were you surprised by the intentions you set? Were you surprised by your future, happy self? Let whatever your experience was flow through your fingertips. Let your intentions solidify on paper.
If you would like to pull a card, while shuffling and choosing, set intention to receive guidance for the season.
To close your practice, close your eyes and place one hand on your heart and one on your navel. Take a few deep breaths and connect with your heart and your internal fire. Send gratitude for this practice.
More ways to celebrate and honor the Summer Solstice
Cut some fresh flowers and place them in a vase in your home
Eat a meal outdoors
Go for a nature walk
Do 11 sun salutations (to honor the sun energy)
Do yoga, meditation or movement outside
Take a dip in a lake, river, stream or the ocean
Step outside barefoot and feel yourself grounding into the earth
As we are heading into Pitta season (if you are unfamiliar with Ayurveda, Pitta is a body type that is represented by the elements of fire and water), we want to support our systems with cooling foods that help keep the digestive fire alive without overheating your system. There are many herbs you can incorporate into you daily routine that will help to keep your body grounded, connected and cool through the Summer season....
Nettle Tea Infusion
Nettles are cooling as well as help with seasonal allergies. They have a mild herbal taste and is wonderful hot or iced.
1 tbsp. dried nettles
1 qt. water
Mix dried nettles with water
Let sit overnight
Strain & refrigerate
Jamaica (hibiscus tea) Potion
This is a super refreshing summer drink that cools the body and provides you with lots of Vitamin C which is necessary in keeping you hydrated.
2 cups dried hibiscus flowers
1 stick cinnamon
2 star anise
1 gallon filtered water
splash of honey or maple syrup
Combine 1 gallon filtered water with 2 cups dried hibiscus flowers, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 star anise
Boil 20 minutes
Remove from heat, strain, and pour over ice with a splash of honey or maple syrup (it is tart so it needs a bit of sweet)
Add a squeeze of lime
Lemon Balm Tonic
Lemon balm isn’t just cooling but has a powerful role in reducing worry and anxiety. It grows like a weed and has a delicious lemony mint flavor. This bright and beautiful herb makes a great ice tea.
1 handful fresh lemon balm leaves or 1 tbsp. dried leaves*
1 cup water
Cover the fresh or dried leaves with 1 cup water
Place in the sun for the day
Strain and pour over ice
*If you have thyroid issues, take lemon balm with caution
Shatavari Solstice Tea
This Ayurvedic herb is the feminine counterpart to Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is warming and Shatavari is cooling. It is wonderful for the summer months and helps to rejuvenate the body. It is especially wonderful for female reproductive issues. It can be found in powder or tincture form.
1/2 tsp. Shatavari powder or 1 dropper full of Shatavari tincture
Liquid of choice (water, tea, kombucha)
Add the Shatavari powder or tincture form to your morning latte or drink of choice
Another Ayurvedic herb that is tridoshic (this means it balances as well as is beneficial to all three doshas). Triphala is wonderful for digestive issues and constipation and gently cleanses and detoxifies the body. I like to take this herb in powder form mixed with some lemon water or juice.
1/2 tsp. Triphala
1 cup water or juice
Add Triphala to lemon water or juice
Best taken before bed
Summer Solstice is one of my favorite days of the year. It is filled with so much vibrancy and energy. It is an opportunity for deep transformation and setting intention for what you want to light up during the next few months and into the Fall. It’s the time to get outside, celebrate the earth and soak up all the vitamin D. Celebrate the season, connect with your fire and use it to achieve your deepest desires.
Feature Image courtesy: Nitsa Citrine