Daily Downward Dog Facebook post from Friday, December 14: Today I did something that scares me: I got up at 6 am and did yoga. The yoga wasn’t the scary part – the 6 am part was! It’s all part of the 8-day winter solstice celebration I’m taking part in at Yoga Bliss Akron. Eight days of yoga, cleansing diet, karma yoga, and sadhana (meditation and chanting) with the intention of creating peace, harmony, and positive change in my life. Woo Hoo!
Daily Downward Dog Facebook post from Monday, December 17: This 6 am yoga may begin to be a habit. I like having my asana & meditation practice complete before I would have normally crawled out of bed. And the best part is that I get to take that blissful yoga high with me through the rest of my day!
I’ll be the first to admit I am not a morning person. If I had to describe my morning MO it would be the habitual repeat snooze alarm violator. Especially in the winter, it’s just plain hard for me to jump out of bed early all bursting with joy.
But this Monday morning (Monday being the definitive word) I arose in the dark looking forward to getting my yoga on with an awesome group of yogis assembled at Yoga Bliss Akron. I always feel a sense of community when I take a yoga class, but there is something about joining together before the sun rises that makes that connection even stronger. This morning I even found myself doing a little dancing on my yoga mat courtesy of an awesome playlist and flow led by Kristen Snyder.
Sunrise Yoga Rocks!
As I write this, I’m marveling at how great I feel, how much I’ve accomplished already this morning before most of my days ever begin. And, I can’t believe I had a breakfast that included rice, beans, turmeric, and cumin! That spicy stuff is pretty darn yummy and warming this time of year. (You can find the recipe for this kicharee on the Daily Downward Dog Facebook page.)
My body and mind need this 8-day cleanse. I am slowly peeling away the darkness of this year and reaching my head a little higher to find the light. I am listening to the beautiful voice of Gretchen Horinger as she leads us in a chant – lokah samasta sukhino bhavantu (May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.) – and guides us through our meditation. I’m quieting my mind, I’m letting go, I’m opening my heart, and I’m focusing on living this mantra.
This Friday is the official winter solstice, which marks the shortest day of the year and brings with it the promise of longer days of light (and for me that means it’s getting closer to beach yoga time). Start your own celebration and focus your yoga practice over the next few days on letting go of the dark, of anything that is not going to serve you in this coming season, and find your bliss. Cleanse your body with nutritious foods, sing the mantra, be good to yourself, and let yourself fill up with light!
Thank you, Gretchen, for bringing the 8-Day Solstice Celebration to Yoga Bliss – you are truly a shining light!
I’ve found the perfect yoga theme song for this winter solstice celebration – “Sun Light” from MC Yogi’s latest album Pilgrimage. Watch the video and listen to the lyrics for a little sunrise musical inspiration to jumpstart your day!
Wash away the dark
Sun light, shines bright
light up the temple
This light my friend has no end
rise up and shine again!