June 21, 2018 Summer Solstice
We are starting off our first blog at Optimal State with a note on the Summer Solstice. There are many ancient traditions that celebrate this time, the day when the battle between light and dark reaches its peak and at the end of the longest day, the light grows weary and allows the dark to take over. Throughout the summer the days will grow shorter and the nights longer, until the battle commences once again on the Winter Solstice. Until then though, there will be plenty of long summer days and evenings to encourage play.
In ancient time it was known as Midsummer, because summer began in May when crops were bountiful and the days grew warmer and longer. Today we mark this day as the beginning of summer. Schools are out, warm winds blow, the nights grow long with kids playing outside. We sleep with our windows open listening to the crickets sing.
Many cultures around the world celebrate the solstice during the evening with parties, games, music and bonfires. Fire has always been associated with Summer Solstice as it pays tribute to the sun and invokes the power of fertility and prosperity. In Ayureveda we enter into the pitta phase of the seasons. Pitta is fire and brings with it the heat and energy of summer. I had the opportunity to attend a solstice celebration at La Maida Institute last night where we made flower mandalas and ate an Ayurevdic meal with Optimal State’s Ayurevdic teacher, Anjali Deva. This is what she had to say about this important day:
Ayurveda teaches us that the sandhi, or joint between the seasons, is a very vulnerable time for both our physical and emotional health. Similar to thinking about your forearm as spring and bicep as summer, the elbow in between is a place of vulnerability that can be heightened under the right (or not right!) circumstances. I have plenty of friends and clients suffering from sinus or allergy attacks during this time, and emotionally I have noticed both a feeling of being underwater, completely exhausted, and depleted. As we release kapha (earth + water) and move into pitta (fire), there is a ‘sludging off’ feeling that can be supported with herbs and lifestyle changes to support a healthy transition. Right now it is especially important to avoid kapha-aggravating foods like sugars and carbs, especially ice cream :). It’s a good idea to add in some well-cooked dark leafy greens to support the liver. I’ve been using calendula and lemon balm as herbal infusions in tea throughout the day to support lymphatic drainage and emotional stagnation. As we move forward toward the summer solstice it’s a wonderful time to eat really simple, do some extra journaling, and cultivate an intention for the second half of the year.
She has recommended this wonderful summer meal to try. And if you’d like to learn how to make it, please follow the link below to sign up for the class! For more information on Anjali, please visit her website www.rootedrasa.com.