Having fun, traveling, lounging in the sun, that’s what summer is all about. I hope you haven’t burned out your inner peace yet because we’re just getting started. Somehow even with the amount of surfing, dancing, sunbathing, teaching and preparing delicious food for my clients I have managed to stay grounded in my routine. As of lately I have been harnessing the summer heat for transformation and burning through outdated patterns, that is what the fire energy is about. So here are a few reminders from Ayurveda to keep cultivating balance and integrity.
Reminder #1 – Enjoy
Enjoy the sweetness of life and pacify the heat with fresh local fruits. Fruit contains precious prana along with many vital nutrients. Flavors to help balance the heat of the summer include sweet, bitter and astringent which can be found in fruit. There is an old saying that goes something like this; sweet like a cherry, bitter like a melon (bitter melon that is) and astringent like a pear. Just kidding…
Fruit has this combination of flavors to help you balance the heat after a long day in the sun. So eat it up! Beyond the fruit think cooling herbs to infuse your water like mint, lemon balm, basil and even cucumber.
Be conscious of the amount of spicy, pungent and stimulating foods you consume. Think, spicy salsa, bbq, coffee and heavy foods. They might be contributing to irritability or even being short tempered. Stay cool and calm with easily digestible plant ripened fruit.
Reminder #2 – Adapt
Adaptability is key. Be flexible, not rigid with your routine without sacrificing the non-negotiables that help keep you grounded and balanced. It is these habits and routines that help you move through challenges as well as getting back on track after a vacation or traveling. So check in and identify which of your habits and routines are non-negotiable to support your health and sanity!
Deeper, behind the strength of physical adaptability is mental, emotional and spiritual resilience. Inviting flexibility with perspectives helps to see the world with new eyes. This will help when challenging situations arise, as they always do and open up possibilities to navigate the situation in a new way. Growing and adapting comes from doing things in new ways so be curious about what is possible at any given moment.
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
Reminder #3 – Breath
Back to the prana I mentioned in the first reminder. This is the energy animating life itself. You want to consume foods high in this life giving energy to help sustain vitality. Beyond the food, prana can be harnessed and directed with your breath as described in the practices of pranayama from yoga. The summer can be a bit activating and depleting on your energy, so you want to rebuild this with conscious breathing.
Pranayama can help to release any stored thermal energy from the sun along with emotional and mental blocks. Invite a conscious cooling breath such as sheetali into your daily routine as a way to keep the energy moving.
To practice sheetali find a comfortable seat.
- Stick out your tongue and fold the lateral edges of your tongue like a taco or hotdog bun.
- Inhale through the folded tongue.
- As you inhale, feel the cooling fresh air coming through the tongue cultivating balance and clarity.
- Retain the breath at the top of the inhale for 1 – 3 seconds.
- Exhale through the nose and feel the warmth as it releases the stored heat.
- Repeat this for 3 – 5 minutes.
It is a good time to check in now and notice if there could be a little refinement in your activities so you can continue enjoying your summer in a way that uplifts you and supports your journey. If you are conscious about your activities now you can begin to ride the wave into fall and winter as if you are floating downstream with the current. Living a balanced life is about finding a rhythm. Each choice a pulse in this rhythm creating a beautiful harmonizing life experience or a distorted reality. Choose with integrity and enjoy the sweetness each moment has to offer.