21 June Summer Solstice: Ritucharya practice

The word solstice comes from the Latin roots sol (Sun), and stitium (to stop or be still). This is the moment when the sun appears to pause in the sky, as its trajectory undergoes a perceived directional shift.
The summer solstice occurs when Earth’s pole is most greatly inclined toward the sun. Hence the Sun appears to be still when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky in its northernmost position from the equator on the longest path through the sky.

The summer solstice occurs during the summer. (June solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the December solstice in the Southern Hemisphere).
Rituacharya is the ancient Ayurvedic practice {“Ritu” means season; “charya” means regimen or discipline}. 
Ritucharya consists of lifestyle and Ayurvedic diet routine to cope with the bodily and mental impacts caused by seasonal changes.

During the Summer Solstice, there is a gradual shift from Kapha balancing practices to Pitta pacifying cooling and regenerative practices. Being a time of transaction, we need to allow the body to adapt slowly to the change. It is not a switch from Kapha to pitta pacifying, rather a gradual change. 
I have found the analogy of Earth seasonal changes to breath ways to be interesting.

The inhalation of Earth is during the Autumnal Equinox: days becomes of the same length as nights, light and dark (yin and yang) just like the midway point of inhalation when the lungs are half full and half empty. {PURAKA: Inhalation}
At the peak of inhalation, there is a moment of pause, the Winter Solstice. {Kumbhaka: breath retention}, just before starting the exhalation.

As we exhale {Rechaka}, just like with inhalation, there is a halfway point where the lungs are half empty and half full. Similarly, the Spring Equinox is the halfway point when the daylight has increased to become the same length as night time.

At the end of exhalation there is another moment of pause, {Kumbhaka: breath retention}, it’s when the carbon dioxide has been fully expelled, and we are ready to start inhaling again, the start of a new breathing cycle. For Earth, this is the Summer Solstice, the day with the longest daylight and shortest night. The sun appears to stay still at its highest position to then continue its journey and restart the cycle of seasons again.

Verse from the Vijnana Bhairava Sutra, the sweet words that Shiva offered to his bride, Shatki: 
“Exhaling, breath is released and flows out. There is a pulse as it turns to flow in. In that turn, you are empty. Enter that emptiness as the source of all life.”

Next time you practice pranayama, or you have a moment to observe your breath, bring your focus to that moment of emptiness after the exhalation, the directional shift of the breath just before the inhalation.

Experience the emptiness, stop or be still like the sun at the highest point during the solstice. 
Notice how this makes you feel.

Happy Summer Solstice to you all.