The onset of summer is a pretty exciting time. As the days get longer and the the weather gets warmer we all seem to re-find some seasonal inspiration. For me I find I suddenly have much more energy, my social life always seems to explode for a spell at this time of year and so many more opportunities for adventure begin to present themselves.
The days of late spring just before summer feel like some of the most energizing. As the earth spins on axis and the northern hemisphere tilts toward the sun the days progressively get longer until we reach that beautiful day of solstice and summer fully arrives.
The gaining of daylight hours have always been interesting to me in the way it affects my mind and my body. In the sub-arctic this is an experience like non other I have had before. I was unsure what kind of impact the prolonged daylight of the Yukon would have on me in my first summer season. Now, smack in the midst of the experience, I once again feel as though I am literally engulfed in a brand new world. As solstice arrives on June 21st Whitehorse experiences nearly constant day light. The sun sets sometime around midnight and rises again in the wee hours of the morning but even between these times everything just really settles into a twilight phase, far from dark… It truly is a strange thing to get used to. Everyone should experience the joy of hiking, or gardening, or enjoy the outdoors in their chosen way in “broad daylight” until the midnight hours. It blows me away how easy it is to loose track of time in the evenings, when suddenly you realize that it’s well passed bedtime, though it is still as bright as the mid afternoon.
This year I was especially lucky to greet this everlasting light. On Friday June 21st I participated in an amazing event to welcome summer solstice to the north. On the banks on the might Yukon River I joined a large number of Whitehorse yogis to preform 108 sun salutations together, truly bowing to this midnight sun!
I was really excited to be asked to help lead a small section of this event. 9 teachers of various styles, lineages and backgrounds each lead 12 salutations to equal 108 (a number that is symbolic in a number of ways to Hindus and Buddhists and significant to our friends who are very interested in astrology as well) . The entire community was invited to come and participate in the event that we used as a fundraiser for the food bank and the Recycling Center. We had at least 80 people turn out, each performing as many salutations as felt good for them… doing some, resting sometimes and sometimes joining back in for more. It felt like the perfect kind of solstice activity, we had live music to keep us going and each of the earth elements were present as we practiced beneath the blazing sun, on a beautiful wood deck built over the banks of the river, with just the right amount of breeze to keep us cool.
To me this was super special on so many levels. I have never before done 108 sun salutations, I had never lead a group quite this big, and since this is after all my first northern summer this felt like a really amazing way to start it. This event really made me feel connected to this beautiful new community of mine.
As my hero John Lennon would say “you may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”.
*** All beautiful Photos taken by the talented weseisses.com