Honor the Sun—and Yourself—with a Daily Yoga Sun Salutation

Source: www.thefitnessworkout.com

As we discussed in our post about the Summer Solstice, the sun and its light are symbols of consciousness in many cultures. The Navajo construct their hogans with the door facing east so they can greet the sun each morning upon awakening. One of the most important festivals of the year for the ancient Inca was an eight-day feast that included ritual chanting every day to the rising sun. And for thousands of years, the Hindu have revered the sun, which they call Surya, as both the physical and spiritual heart of the world and the creator of all life. One of the best means of honoring the sun is through the dynamic asana (postures) sequence called Surya Namaskar (better known in English as the Sun Salutation).

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Make a God’s Eye to Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Source: Wikipedia. Photo by Anaroza 2007

A God’s Eye (or Ojo de Dios) is often thought of as a Mexican decoration. They are used by the Huichol Indians of western Mexico in sacred ceremonies. When a child is born, a God’s Eye is created by the father and offered to the god who protects children. Each year, until the child reaches the age of five, a new, smaller God’s eye is added to one end of the original. These colorful yarn decorations evolved from the “nierika.” The “nierika,” a small square or round tablet with a hole in the center, was used as a sacred magical offering and symbolized the sun, among other things. Because of the sun symbolism, God’s Eyes have become popular decorations for the Summer Solstice as well.

God’s Eyes can be as simple or complex as you like. We’ll start with the directions for making the most basic version, but I’ll give you some ideas at the end for increasing the complexity if you are so inclined…

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The “Sunscreen Essay”

Back in 1997, an essay titled Sunscreen or Wear Sunscreen was making the rounds on the Internet. According to the urban legend, it was a commencement address given by Kurt Vonnegut. That turned out not to be the case. It was actually the work of Mary Schmich, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. A couple of years later, it was used to create a successful music single by Baz Luhrmann (link below).

So I seriously doubt this will be new to many people (unless, perhaps, you were living in a cave for several years around that time) but because our topic recently has been the summer sun, and since it is graduation season and this would be fitting for a commencement address (even if it never actually was) I thought I’d share it here. Anyway, it’s good advice…and bears repeating. Do you agree?

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Summer Solstice Sauce

Want to celebrate the Summer Solstice but unsure what to feature on the menu? Well, you have a range of possibilities. Traditional Summer Solstice foods include a wide variety of summer fruits and vegetables (duh!) Yellow and orange foods, because they are sun colors, are especially popular, as are beer and ice cream (can’t argue with that!).

This delicious sauce is a good fit for its bright orange color as well as its tangy flavor. Plus, it’s a breeze to make. Use it as a grilling glaze or a dipping sauce—you can’t go wrong!

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Sunny Dispositions

The sun is forever inexorably linked to life, love, and happiness as these quotes illustrate…

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

Buddha

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Yeah we all shine on, like the moon, and the stars, and the sun.

John Lennon

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If I had to choose a religion, the sun as the universal giver of life would be my god.

Napoleon Bonaparte

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The higher the sun ariseth, the less shadow doth he cast; even so the greater is the goodness, the less doth it covet praise; yet cannot avoid its rewards in honours.

Lao Tzu

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A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked.

Anais Nin

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Here Comes the Sun!

Here comes the sun.

Here comes the sun, and I say

It’s all right…

From Here Comes the Sun

Written by George Harrison, Performed by the Beatles

It’s coming all right. Here in Tucson, we hit our first 100-degree day last week. (Actually, it was a little later than normal this year, but I didn’t hear anyone complaining about the delay). Sunlight is something we are “blessed” with quite a lot of.

Here in the sunny Southwest, we may take sunlight for granted (in fact—yes, I confess—we may even have been known to curse it on occasion), but many ancient cultures certainly did not. Especially after difficult winters, these agricultural societies depended on the sun for life and sustenance. It is no surprise, then, that the sun was often deified. The Egyptians honored Ra, the Sun God. He was the bringer of light and patron to the pharaohs. According to the legend, Ra drove his chariot across through the heavens. For the ancient Greeks, it was Helios, who was similar to Ra in many aspects. The cult of Helios celebrated with an impressive ritual in which a giant chariot pulled by horses was driven off the end of a cliff and into the sea.

But when it comes to celebrating the sun, the main event is the Summer Solstice. Occurring on June 20, 21, or 22 in the Gregorian Calendar, the Summer Solstice is associated with many ancient summer traditions and is still celebrated in modern society. The name comes from combination of two Latin words (sol + stice), meaning “sun” and “to stand still.” As the days lengthen, the sun rises higher and higher until it seems to stand still in the sky. The Summer Solstice results in the longest day (and thus the shortest night) of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, the situation is reversed.

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