Day of Celebrations on 21 June 2015: 'Summer Solstice', 'Father's Day' and the 'International Yoga Day'
by Elizabeth Menon

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Day of Celebrations on 21 June 2015: 'Summer Solstice', 'Father's Day' and the 'International Yoga Day'

'Summer Solstice', 'Father's Day' and the 'International Yoga Day' make it more Auspicious in 2015!

'Father's Day' is celebrated on this day in the UK, the US and Canada! I think of my father on this day and each second of every other day, and pray for all fathers including the dear departed souls around the globe! One must remember that the 'Living' need our love and care more than those who left us and it is paramount that each one of us makes a conscious effort to be there for our parents, not just on this day, but every day! My father was my best friend and my all time hero! I get a lump in my throat and my eyes brim with tears every time I listen to these most poignant words -- "Suryanaay thazhukiyunarthumen Acheneyaanenikkishtam...", (Biju Narayanan:; KS Chitra:, from the film 'Sathyam Shivam Sundaram': Kaithapram and Vidyasagar)

It is also the day the 'Summer Solstice' starts, and the UN has declared this day, 21 June 2015 as the 'International Day for Yoga' – 177 countries around the world is practicing Yoga and meditation for a healthy living, and hopefully, it would herald a whole lot of 'Lifestyle changes' for a better future! Yoga is away of living, a union of 'Mind and Body', and it should not be mixed up with religion or politics! Though there were many teachers of Yoga in the past, it was Swami Ramdev, who brought Pranayama to the forefront and to the common man and he believes in 75% Pranayama and 25% Asanas to remain healthy and get rid of diseases, quite different to the earlier concept of Asanas being the main component and thereby giving Pranayama a subsidiary role! Though Pranayama was known to be an essential part of Yoga practice, it was seldom given the pride of place it deserved – Bastrika, Kapal-bhati, Anulom Vilom, Bahya Pranayama, Omkar japa, Bhramari. Agnisaar. As Summer solstice is a time for meditation, reinvention and purification, it is very apt that the UN declared today as 'he 'International Day of Yoga' and surely a recognition of India's ancient practice!

Summer Solstice on 21 June is the longest day for people in the northern hemisphere -- the sun appears to stand still at the same height because of the Earth's tilt -- the sun shines directly on the Tropic of Cancer, the 'Summer Solstice' and the opposite happens in December when the Solstice is in the southern hemisphere with the sun shining on the Tropic of Capricorn, while the northern hemisphere has the 'Winter Solstice'! The sun is at the highest point in the sky at noon during the summer solstice, making it the longest day, and the sun is at its lowest in winter, making it the shortest day! The Sun starts its 'Southern journey' the day after the Summer solstice, the 'Dakshinayan', time for meditation, reinvention and purification for us, and the Sun's 'Southern journey', starts the day after the 'Winter solstice' in December, the 'Utharayan', time of enlightenment. According to the Hindu Belief, Utharayan is Daytime for the gods and Dakshinyan is night, as our one year is one day for the gods, six months of day and six months of night! If one dies during Utharayan, it is considered auspicious, as he/she is believed to be granted final salvation – Bhishma chose to make his transition during Utharayan, in spite of having to lie on the deathbed of arrows for weeks!

Thousands of people would gather in places like the Stonehenge to witness the first glimpse of the sunrise! It is time to enjoy the sun and the garden, summer clearing up of clutter in one's life, physical, personal and at consciousness level! And a time to start working out, doing yoga and meditation for a healthy living and to have positive thoughts, throwing out the negative energy, which includes staying away from things that give you negative energy! Enjoy the Summer and Yoga!

“Happy Father's Day”!


© E Menon



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