The Summer Solstice, which occurs this weekend on June 21, highlights the height of the summer the longest day and shortest night of Earth’s solar year. The sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer and provides more hours of heat and radiant energy in the northern hemisphere than any other day. After the Summer Solstice, days will become incrementally shorter until the Winter Solstice, Dec 21, the shortest day of the year. The solstices and the changing of the seasons is one of the few natural phenomenon that marks the passing of time in a concrete way.
According to Ayurveda, the ancient medicine of India that emphasizes the balance of mind, body, and spirit, summer represents fiery expansive energy and maturation, when the heat of the earth is at its zenith and it is hot and dry. Due to the strong properties of the sun, and the body’s need to stay cool, summer calls for lighter and smaller meals with increased hydration. Recommended exercises include those that are more cooling: Lunar Yoga, tai chi, walking, swimming, and bicycling. It is wise to avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day, generally between 11 am and 3 pm, and instead favor early morning or sunset exercise. Clothing choices are lighter and cooler, favoring white and pastels to reflect the sun’s rays. A great way to utilize the energizing paths of summer is to develop self-sustaining health goals such as daily movement and healthy food choices to carry the body, mind and spirit through to the upcoming shorter days.