The month of June brought me so many reasons to celebrate. A birthday surprise, a graduation, a pregnancy announcement, a wedding shower, a pay raise at work, a new relationship, a family vacation, and so much more! Events like these remind me how grateful I am for the people who surround and support me daily. My family. My friends. My tribe.
I'm sure you can agree that the "high times" like the ones listed above, which come with capital letters and strings of emojis, make it so easy to remember our blessings. However, expressing gratitude for the good in our lives certainly shouldn't end with just these big moments. When we drop the idea that our happiness lies in external happenings, we claim the power to create our own joy every day we rise. There are inevitably seasons of slowness and "lowness" as we move through life but, by recognizing our ability to cultivate joy, we can always choose to see the light in each day.
"Every day might not be good, but there is good in every day" -Alice Morse Earle
Speaking of the light in each day...
Last week, I rung in the Summer Solstice by joining several of my fellow Cleveland yogis at Inner Bliss Yoga Studio for a 6am practice. Together, we flowed through 108 sun salutations. One hundred and eight cycles of gratitude for the rising sun.
Hold up- what is a sun salutation?
A sun salutation, or Surya Namaskar in Sanskrit, has been a traditional sequence in yoga for thousands of years. Surya means sun. Namaskar stems from "namas," which means "to bow to" or "to adore." Translation? Bowing to the sun.
Sun Salutation (A)
Standing Forward Fold
Low plank (chaturanga)
Upward facing dog
Downward facing dog
In very literal terms, our primary source of light found in each day comes from the sun. Across cultures and varying beliefs, light has been a symbol of goodness and wakefulness. A sun salutation may look like the sequence listed above, but it more deeply represents the practice of beginning each day with gratitude for all that illuminates our hearts and minds.
I have such a love for yoga because the practice is essentially a guide to flowing through our lives gracefully. Cultivating gratitude for the simple, daily unfoldings in our lives sets our sights toward what is good. Gratitude allows us to focus on what is warm and light. The practice of the ancient yogis makes a whole lot of sense in this context.
But do we need to get onto our mats to be grateful for the day? Of course not. The beauty of gratitude is that it is simply the direction of good energy outward. There are endless ways to express this in our lives.
During my family's latest trip to Siesta Key, Florida, we ventured down to the public beach for the weekly drum circle. Even though we've been vacationing there for years, this was the first time we'd ever made it to the local gathering. Most people danced, others sang, a few hula-hooped, and we all clapped with the steady beat of the drums. I grabbed my sister's hand and we joined in, channeling our inner hippies as we swayed and twirled. I looked around at all of the people, moving freely in whatever way they pleased with smiles on their faces and without a care in the world.
As we all danced, I turned to someone and asked what was being celebrated. Her answer?
The gift of another sunset.
Just like ancient yogis, the beach-goers were expressing their gratitude for life's simple, daily goodness. They were all saluting the sun.
Rising Rooted is built on the idea that each day, we can choose to do things which support our well-being. These are the actions that light us up from the inside out- the work of our lives that leaves us feeling radiant and fulfilled. A daily gratitude practice supports us in cultivating this inner sunshine.
So whether your gratitude practice looks like 108 sun salutations, dancing with the people you love, or simply watching the sun rise or set, I hope you find a way to celebrate the little joys in your everyday life-to feel the sunshine that is invariably all around you, and within you. ☀