Today has simply GOT to be one of the best days of the entire year.
Not only is it the first day of summer, and thus the summer solstice - when the sun is the strongest and the day is the longest, which is absolutely reason enough to celebrate BUT it is also World Music Day and International Yoga Day. Three of my favourite things (and probably yours too) all celebrated on one day! How incredible is that?
Summer is always welcomed with open arms and optimism. This season has so many gifts that I am grateful for beyond measure: flowers, warm weather, outdoor swimming and sleeping and eating. Sun and moon bathing and star gazing. Barbecues and fruit markets, ice cream, grape popsicles, iced tea and cold beer, picnics in the park and long walks after dark.
It is officially time to shed the layers I protect myself in thanks to the fluctuating and extreme Canadian weather and feel the soft ground under my bare feet and the wind on my bare skin. It is seems a more natural state of being to want to be outside than trying to avoid it all costs wouldn't you agree?
Music. Life would be far less wonderful without the accompaniment of music. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I listen to music every single day of my life. There is never a day that I don't. It provides a constant soundtrack to my days and lifts me up when I'm feeling down.
Yesterday the power of music was shown to me very profoundly. I was shopping in the grocery store and a song came on the music overhead and suddenly I stopped what I was looking for and just started crying. The Last Farewell by Roger Whitaker. I last heard that song at my dad's funeral. The ability to change my train of thought and emotions so swiftly and surely demonstrates the power music has.
To manifest today's power, please enjoy this playlist made especially for it.
Yoga is a lovely exercise regime and philosophy that's good for any age or experience. It is a called a yoga practice because the only person you should aim to be better than is yourself the last time you practiced.
Yoga is great to do any time of the month but during menstruation one should try to avoid inverted poses (poses where you are upside down as this can cause retrograde menstruation as the natural flow out of the body is reversed to go back into the body).
Below are some soothing poses during that time of the month that can help alleviate some of the pain and discomfort.
One of my favourite yoga celebrities is Rachel Brathen of @yoga_girl fame. She is the author of some excellent books and I find her approach very relatable and encouraging.
Here is a quick, 3-pose video that any one can do at the end of a long day.
Whatever you have on your agenda for the day, may I suggest you try to fit in a little music and yoga and enjoy a solstice celebration of your own.