Integrate mindfulness into your warm-weather lifestyle organically
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) works with the Earth’s natural energies and rhythms, and acknowledges the changing seasons. During each season, we eat differently, we move differently and our energy levels change. Meditation, a sister practice of Chinese Medicine, should also be altered with the seasons. During the warm, fiery months of summer, it’s more common that we’re busy traveling, being outside and more active that our meditation practice may fall by the wayside. Rather than ditching it until the cozy indoor months of fall and winter, here are some ways to integrate your meditation into your summer rituals organically:
If the sun beckons, try a walking meditation. This could be walking down the beach, hiking through the forest or ambling down your street. Leave the phone at home and as you walk, notice your senses. Slow down your breath and take in the sights and smells around you. If you’re in the grass, try to walk barefoot to take in the earth’s energies.
Like yoga, walking meditation aims to connect the body and breath so that they work together, clearing out any clutter – not only in the mind but also the body. If you’re feeling high-energy, try a running meditation. This time, focus on your breath and try to slow it down to move in synch with your pace. Notice how your body feels.
Cool Down Your Body
On the other side of the coin, we often get overheated during the summer months, so cooling foods and exercises can help us feel more grounded and less stressed. Nadi Shodhana, also known as Alternate Nostril Breathing, is a powerful yet soothing breath exercise that helps us calm down and balance the left (feminine) and right (masculine) sides of the body. If we are overheated and overactive, often times the masculine is too active, so practicing this exercise can help balance the brain and the body. The Chopra Center offers this explanation on how to practice:
- Take a comfortable and tall seat, making sure your spine is straight and your heart is open.
- Relax your left palm comfortably into your lap and bring your right hand just in front of your face.
- With your right hand, bring your pointer finger and middle finger to rest between your eyebrows, lightly using them as an anchor. The fingers we’ll be actively using are the thumb and ring finger.
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath in and out through your nose.
- Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through the left nostril slowly and steadily.
- Close the left nostril with your ring finger so both nostrils are held closed; retain your breath at the top of the inhale for a brief pause.
- Open your right nostril and release the breath slowly through the right side; pause briefly at the bottom of the exhale.
- Inhale through the right side slowly.
- Hold both nostrils closed (with ring finger and thumb).
- Open your left nostril and release breath slowly through the left side. Pause briefly at the bottom.
- Repeat 5-10 cycles, allowing your mind to follow your inhales and exhales.
Have you ever sat outside your porch on a warm summer night, hearing crickets, frogs and feeling the warm breeze brush across your skin? Summer is the climax of the seasons: it’s fertile, animals are out, and there’s abundance all around us.
Sit outside, and take a few moments to soak it all in. Notice the sounds, the sweet smells of flowers and the warm breeze. Summer is the season of love, play and activity – a time where we truly can take into account all that’s already available to us. The first step to receiving more abundance is to be grateful for all that we already have. Tapping into this abundant universe allows us to see how much is available to us.
Sit in silence for a few moments and allow the soundtrack of the natural world around you to play. Journal any ideas, visions or mantras that come to mind after you’re finished. Another great thing to do is to stare at the night sky – a world so limitless you will begin to feel apart of it.