This past Monday was June 21st. That day happens to be the summer solstice (aka the longest day of the year), and my youngest daughter’s birthday.
Eight years ago in 2013, she came into the world unexpectedly early and with a certain degree of complications.
Thankfully she is completely fine and got that way relatively quickly after her birth.
But this time of year certainly puts me in a state of mind that is hard to describe when I reflect on what all went down eight years ago.
It is a state where seemingly incompatible feelings bump shoulders and co-mingle: fear, joy, relief, uncertainty, desperation, and determination.
I find it a beautiful coincidence that her birthday fell on the longest day of the year, the day with the most amount of light. And in 2013, it also coincided with a supermoon, when the full moon was so close to earth that it looked impossibly huge.
June 21 marks the halfway point of the year in terms of light. After that, the earth slowly contracts towards a shorter day until December 21, when the cycle starts all over again.
I sometimes think of this yearly cycle in terms of the breath (you know, since I’m a yoga teacher and all…we think of EVERYTHING in terms of breath! Could I be more predictable?)
It’s like from December 21-June 21st the world is taking a deep inhale, filling up with more and more light each day. Then on June 21st it peaks, like that moment of pause at the top of an inhale. From there it starts that passive contraction of the breath out until it empties completely and pauses at the bottom of the exhale on December 21st.
And of course that pause begets another inhale, and on and on we cycle through the end of time.
Since everything we do in yoga is so connected to the breath, yoga offers a great opportunity to align ourselves with the natural and inevitable flow of time.
And really, you don’t need to be doing yoga to align yourself with this. It’s just that yoga harps on the breath so much that it makes it easier to remember to do it!
On the breath in, we too are expanding, filling up, and letting in. And on the breath out, we too are contracting, emptying, letting go.
And when you boil things down to their most essential, this pretty much sums up everything we do (and will do) for our entire lives.
If you buy into this breath/year metaphor, then right now (June 26th as of this writing), we are somewhere near the pause between inhale and exhale.
And so much can happen during moments of pause.
We can see things a little more clearly.
We can be a little less reactive.
We can be still.
I am going to do my best to really experience this pause. To let myself dwell in it and explore.
And I heartily encourage you to do the same.
We might even experience a miracle there.
Like giving birth.
Like being born.
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“What I discovered was a really comprehensive plan, chock full of tools to help get there. There was a daily yoga sequence that was so gentle anyone could do it, which I truly learned to appreciate. As a teacher, Lauren’s cues throughout were on point for me. She has an overarching peacefulness about her that just feels very honest and genuine. The program is aptly called a “challenge” because there is (at least for me) a real challenge in showing up for yourself consistently for 21 days, even for 20 minutes a day. Today I’m not only calmer, but also feeling stronger and more in-tune with myself. Great experience, totally worth it.”–Phuong S.