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Summer Solstice Celebration

This year Father’s Day is June 20th, the day before the Summer Solstice.  The Summer Solstice, also known as Midsummer, and by many other names, marks the official beginning of summer.  On the Summer Solstice daytime lasts longer than it does at any other time of year, and night time is at its shortest.  Today is International Peace Prayer Day (activities can be adapted from this site http://www.3ho.org/get-involved/summer-solstice/solstice-experience/peace-prayer-day/) one of many festivities and traditions in various cultures around the world coinciding with Summer Solstice and 3HO.org has one of longest lasting Summer Solstice Celebrations around.

Every year 3HO, the foundation of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan have several events, one of the biggest being the Summer Solstice Sadhana Celebration. I have never seen a happier, more committed bunch of father’s than Kundalini Yogis.  Kundalini Yoga is intended for “householders” and the community aspect is great for the whole family.  If you’re looking for an inclusive, comprehensive, holistic approach to giving a gift for Father’s Day, consider taking the Father in your life to the Summer Solstice Sadhana Celebration.

The celebration is ten days long, and takes place in Espanola, New Mexico, the site of the 3HO foundation headquarters.   You can attend all ten days or pay by the day.  If you can’t make it to New Mexico for any part of the celebration, maybe taking the kid’s to the Youth camp the following week(June 28-July 10) and/or attending the Women’s Camp(June 27-July 4) would give you a summer break that benefits the family.

You can camp, rent a space in an onsite cabin or get a hotel in the town of Espanola.  Children 3 and under are free.  There is a wide-range of events, classes, entertainment and adventure to be had during the celebration.  Overall, it is a great place to rejuvenate, challenge and achieve spiritual balance in a very enthusiastic, active and supportive environment and community.

If you are completely new to Kundalini Yoga, check out the website and all the information on the Summer Solstice event before heading out.  You will want to pay special attention to understanding what White Tantra Yoga is (http://www.3ho.org/get-involved/summer-solstice/solstice-experience/white-tantric-yoga/) and what will be involved and expected on those days and others.  The celebration is completely eco-friendly and requires participants to be eco-aware and responsible by bringing their own non-disposable eating utensils and serving ware.

I think the synchronicity of Father’s Day and the Summer Solstice celebration is one to note.  Kundalini Yoga can be especially empowering, centering and brings the continuity of life into focus.  This would be a great gift for any father or father-to-be to attend this celebration, especially if he is a seeker and searcher of personal development and wellness solutions for himself.  If he needs a community of strong, energetic, enthusiastic and well-rounded men to link with the 3HO Kundalini Yoga community is a great place to find that.  The Summer Solstice celebration would be a great place for anyone, regardless of gender, age, or any other status, to have fun, gain peace, empowering techniques, comraderie and equality in a wholly nourishing and stimulating environment.

If you can’t make it to this Summer Solstice, the Winter Solstice during December in Florida.  There are many other Kundalini Yoga events and Summer Solstice events, including many of the yogic variety worth searching for online and in your local area.

There will be plenty of music, eco-friendly vendors, a poetry slam, healing and many other events and classes. Food is provided at the event and is in line with the yogic diet and lifestyle prescribed by Yogi Bhajan.  Experienced Kundalini Yogis will recognize the meals provided, all is vegetarian or vegan. Dairy for vegetarians is provided upon request with certain meals and special diets can be accommodated or you can spend time doing karma yoga in the kitchen if you want to make your own food.  Yogi Tea is also provided twice daily at the events.

If you attend this event or participate in the 3HO global community, by adapting Kundalini Yoga exercises, meditations or chanting into an event of your own, you’ll have a great Summer Solstice and come back with years worth of memories, excitement and enrichment.  You’ll likely want to give the gift to yourself and others in your life as many times as you can.  This celebration is a great way to experience the authentic yogic lifestyle.

The life-changing circumstances of a new baby in the family are obvious times of stress for mothers.  The effect of pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period, are unfortunately underestimated in fathers.  However, there has been considerable study lately and the findings suggest that men are just as susceptible to postpartum depression, as well as depression before the birth of their children.

Studying natural lifestyles shows that postpartum depression in men and women is deeply related to culture.  In many cultures around the world where parenting, pregnancy, birth and life in general have a more preferential status of priority in the culture, many of the health and social issues that are common in the U.S. and other capitalist structures are much lower.  In the Western and non-Western world many traditions and social constructs provide more coverage, support and awareness centered at family wellness, as a part of the culture.

I’ve personally seen the chaos and confusion that many fathers experience during pregnancy and after birth, and it comes as no surprise to me that there is so much disparity.  In U.S. culture there is not much community-oriented tradition surrounding these times.  There is even less for fathers than there is for mothers.  Fathers need to be involved, active and aware of the process they are going through and they need to have the support to create their own way of expressing responsibility and preferences in pregnancy, birth and parenting.

Doulas provide support, information and service to families during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.  I have always felt that it is my duty to reach out to fathers, who may not expect to be so affected by this time in their lives and may hide, reject, neglect or deny their feelings.  Because this information is not common knowledge, it goes unnoticed and untreated.  Unfortunately it still has an effect on mother, father and child(ren).

Honestly and regularly communicating with the corresponding parent, a mentor or support person, and other friends and family members, however has a great impact on self-proclaimed success and comfort in parenthood and a decrease in mental and physical issues of all parties during the first few years of parenting.  A positive view of parenting can be achieved by experiencing varying and diverse relationships and communication with other parents and parents-to-be, over time, with an attitude of goal-oriented action and solutions.

Mothers and Fathers can support each other by being open to what the other may be experiencing.  It is the unknown, the enormity of the experience of new life that often causes responses that are misunderstood or undesirable.  It is by being aware, non-judgemental and proactive that these issues can be solved.  Isolation in such an extreme time of life can be devastating to mothers and fathers, as well as other children and family members.  It is very important to establish and participate in community.

Other resources and techniques for solving depression include ways of getting more into the role and creating personal avenues for development, preferences and expression of the role of Fatherhood.  It is a great idea to have a form of physical activity, a form of stress relief, a form of relaxation, and a form of comraderie.  Ensuring good health practices, healthy thought and behavior patterns, expressing feelings, creativity, financial balance and personal support and community are very important.

Helping fathers connect to other fathers, their community, the mothers unexpressed feelings and their own pride and sense of ability in their role are important.  Books, healthy meals, empowering trips and activities, group memberships, relaxation modalities(such as massage, aromatherapy, meditation), journals, art supplies, martial arts classes, scented flowers and more are great ways to honor the role of fatherhood while giving encouragement and enrichment to the mental state of the father in your life.

A life coach, spiritual teacher, celebration or ceremony, babysitter or nanny, house cleaner, practical gift cards and other tangible gifts could greatly improve the state of mind of the father in your life, and give him more Father’s Days to look forward to.  Appreciation for mothers and fathers will allow them to go with the flow and naturally adapt to their new lives, the pressures of duty and society should not come before the mental health and well being of the fathers of the world.  Our communities will suffer greatly if we don’t allow, accept and encourage awareness of the diversity and complexity of parenting.  As parents bring in the gift of life, they deserve the gift of appreciation, in order to fully flourish and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Henna Designed Pregnant Belly

Why is prenatal yoga so popular?  During pregnancy a woman’s body goes through many changes and prepares to become a birthing center.  Pregnancy has been described as an athletic sport and labor/birth as a marathon.

During pregnancy women’s health issues become more prevalent than they were before.  Hormones, emotions, strength, agility, balance, self-confidence, digestion, endurance and practically all of our organs and body is affected.  Not only that, but we are actively preparing to bring in a new life, which is a physically, mentally and spiritually intensive process.

There are many, many forms of yoga, but practically all forms of yoga whip our bodies, minds and spirits into shape.  If practiced regularly and accurately, yoga will add stamina, flexibility, strength and relaxation.  Things our bodies, minds and souls need.  Yoga is a metaphysical, holistic practice of uniting conflicting sources.

I have been a dancer my whole life, and I have been a Yogi for about 10 years.  Five years ago I did a Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training in which I learned a wealth of natural healing information, philosophies, techniques and practices.  I learned about natural healing, and natural birth, pregnancy and parenting.  I learned powerful breathing exercises for release of mental and physical energy and blocks, and I learned to let my body flow gracefully, artistically, thoughtlessly, meditatively. My self-confidence and body image changed drastically during this time.  My sense of worth and ability were transformed and many old patterns, habits, trauma and limiting beliefs were released.

I became an advocate and a voracious student of natural women’s health, normal birth and pregnancy, breastfeeding and holistic wellness.  Long story short, I combined the arts of Kundalini Yoga, dance and transformational breathwork to bring about an ecstatic practice of self-healing.  Three years ago, I became pregnant with my first daughter, my yoga practice flourished into something more than I ever imagined it could be.  My yoga practice were my rehearsals, and the labor/birth was my grand performance.  I was amazed at how much the labor mirrored the preparation I achieved in my yoga practice.  I had an amazing natural home birth.  I don’t recall any pain, I had no tears or *drip, drip tears* and within 8 hours I had a healthy baby nursing at my side.

I have a deep inclination for support of normal pregnancy and birth.  I have seen the potential for transformational pregnancy and birth experiences, and I have noted the power of dance in pregnancy as a great preparation for birth.  Whether you want to have a home birth, a free birth, water birth or hospital birth, and whether you’ve had natural births before, whether you are determined to have one with your upcoming or current pregnancy, or whether you are weighing the possibilities, or hoping you can do it… I greatly recommend yogic breathing practices, dance and meditation.  The Transformational Dance I teach is a combination of the three, and I have specifically designed many exercises for pregnancy and the post-partum period.

If you look into prenatal yoga on the internet or yogic dance you are likely to find yoga that is good for toning the body, or relaxation, and dance that is not quite appropriate for pregnancy, nor does it tackle the holistic scope of pregnancy’s affects.   To truly get the most out of your pregnancy, and subsequently the best out of your birthing experience, it is important to acknowledge the wide range of affects that birth has on the WHOLE LIFE of a woman, and that is what I have designed my Prenatal Yoga Transformational Dance to do.

For inspiration on dance during pregnancy check out http://www.birthasweknowit.com/ and watch the demo, trailer or both of the movie they’ve made.  I am in the process of making an introductory video, and will take requests for private or group classes as a part of my doula care services.  If you have any questions or comments please contact me.

Shiva

Aquarian Age Shiva Yoga Is:

  • The yoga of inner yogas, of transitioning to the Aquarian Age. We are karma yogis, studying mystic living, intuition, natural health and lifestyle, creativity and more.  Whatever it is that creates balance, that is Shiva Yoga.  Being open and aware to the realities and forces of life and taking advantage of all the opportunities we have to design our lives into a creative union, a nourishing, living, growing yoga of you.
  • We use music, dance and all forms of art for healing.
  • We teach Kundalini yoga, yogic lifestyle, intuitive living, sustainability and more.
  • We also do household services, such as caregiving, petcare, childcare, housesitting, household management, gardening, meal planning/prep etc.
  • We focus on enjoying life, going with the flow, simple living, living efficiently and sustainably, constant development, empowerment and union with the world inside and around us, as well as using natural methods for personal health, nutrition and mental/emotional strength and balance.
  • We encourage being and staying aware and offer various courses, classes, workshops, trips/adventures, personal/group coaching, healing, organizing and planning, lifestyle services, ceremonies, guidebooks, and more.  We serve individuals, families, businesses and communities.
  • We are all about owning what and where we are, and creating and striving for more. Never settle for stagnation.  Believe you can achieve and then intend, keep moving.  Allow union and balance in life… allow your life to align with the changing of the times, allow Aquarian Age Shiva Yoga to develop from your creative mind, to a creative life!
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