Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Litha; Yoga and Paganism

Today marks an important pagan holiday- Litha- or Summer Solstice. Today is the culmination of a gradual building of energy, light and life over the past six months since Yule- or the Winter Solstice. (Opposites if you're in the Southern Hemisphere like Svasti :) ). From today onward the light diminishes and we move towards darkness. So although it's a day for celebration of Life and Light, Summer Solstice truly marks the end of growth and the yearly movement towards hibernation and rest.

Litha is a fabulous time to embrace new beginnings, especially if they're cleansing and nurturing- a sort of spiritual 'letting go'. What better way to celebrate than to practice yoga outside near the cleansing ocean? Tonight, after walking briskly home from the ferry, I hopped on Veronica (my bicycle) and pedaled over to Point Pleasant Park with friends.

We set up our mats in a circle and our group of six yogis practiced. I always find that practicing outside lends a more immediate connection with the Goddess. We usually do a lot of our practice in silence so we can enjoy and truly allow our minds and bodies to connect with Nature around us. Moving through the postures, focusing on my breath, I finally sift through the static of a busy life and work to ground and reconnect.

My spirituality is pretty darn personal... I don't take part in any local pagan groups or even speak regularly about my Faith with anyone other than Andrew. However, a few months ago a reader asked how I connected with the Goddess during my yoga practice. It's a little tricky to describe and intensely personal, but I'll say a few words.

Yoga asana allows my body to focus, meditate and ground within itself. Especially while practicing outside, but even during my inside practice, I allow my mind and body to expand in energy and feel a sort of moving prayer to the Goddess. I'll usually send my intention or breath to a person or event I've been thinking on lately and during final meditation I'll often ground and cleanse my energy through the Earth.

During my outside practice I especially connect the Goddess and Her presence with the wind. It's like a physical manifestation of something invisible, spiritual, powerful and more.

The view on our way out of the park after practice today- I especially like the sky...

Today's practice was especially beautiful. During supta baddha konasana (reclining bound angle pose) I stared up at the clouds, so incredibly high in the blue sky and thought I couldn't remember the last time I had let myself get lost in the sky.

New beginnings, rediscovering my Spirit and my Faith.

How did you spend your Summer Solstice? Do you connect similarly to your Faith during yoga practice? (whatever that Faith may be?)


article copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com


  1. I LOVE the new blog banner! It's my goal to upgrade my blog this summer, I'm so inspired by other bloggers.

    Glad you're enjoying this beautiful solstice. It's windy and feeling like rain, you know that kind of wild, wind that tells you interesting weather is on the way? I love this weather, and it makes me feel so much closer to my spiritual side.

  2. I spent my summer solistice pruning lilacs (post coming later) and then did a small ritual of gratitude for the sun. It was a beautiful day!

  3. Sounds absolutely beautiful and fulfilling! If only all practices could be like that!

    I have definitely had times when my practice brings me to a spiritual place... and then there are the rest of the times, when I am seeking that place and not finding it. It comes when unexpected I guess, like all good things in life.

    Notwithstanding, yoga is a deeply spiritual practice for me, even though I don't usually ritualise that spirituality... hard to know if that makes sense to anyone else, but it works for me! I am not big on rituals, even to mark important events like birth or death anniversaries - but actually I think that I "protest too much" and need to challenge myself to be more comfortable with ritual and the public expression of feeling that they entail. :) Lovely post!

  4. Inspiring post! I spent Litha by walking in the mountains with my coven - praying to the sun dearly for stoping the rain :D - and making a biiiig fire in the evening, but I think I will try the yoga outside practice next time when I am alone!


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