The dog days of summer are upon us as we have just passed the summer solstice here in the northern hemisphere. What this means for us year-round desert rats is long hours of daylight, soaring temperatures, fewer crowds and open roads.
Just as winter draws people into hibernation, our summer does something quite similar. We know that to maximize our time outside and minimize how the summer heat can drain energy, we are called to move early in the morning hours or head indoors to a cooler environment. Of course, the practice of yoga is perfect year round, and a great alternative to trying to beat the heat outside.
But something else is also calling us; the summer slowdown is beckoning us to turn inward.
Summer in the desert is an opportune time to deepen practices of contemplation, self-care, relaxation, and healing. With less to do on the social calendar, we have time to dive into our reading list, take time to work on (rather than in) our businesses, or explore new and creative offerings for the fall.
The summer months allow us to embrace things that got postponed during the high season. For me, this is time each week to clear clutter from my desk, delete old emails, brainstorm on ideas that had been tucked away over the winter, and undertake self-study and personal development. Those things that get placed on the back burner waiting for the “perfect time” to move forward can now come into focus. Summer can be that perfect time. Whatever seeds we’ve been planting over the winter and spring months can be more deeply nourished to manifestation in the quiet long days of summer.
With quieter days and schedules, we can perhaps begin to dig the grooves for supportive habits to carry with us into the busier winter season. Creating ritual and routine are important in supporting a consistent type of practice, whether it is an exercise regime, meditation or contemplation practice.
In yoga, these habits are called samskaras and are described as brain ruts or grooves. If we have a behavior that we’ve been defaulting to for years, that groove can be deep. It can seem as though we have no other choice than to fall into a familiar rut when triggered by something. When we slow down and connect to what is important to how we are living, we begin to dig a new groove creating a fresh samskara of behavior.
These can be translated as healthy habits and if we consistently connect to how we wish to be in the world, we create a deeper and wider groove…one which is reflective of our highest intentions.
Our slower summer months are the ideal time to dig new grooves within our daily choices. Since we have more space in the day, fewer commitments, and often fewer deadlines, we can raise our level of consciousness to what we wish to have today as well as in the future.
Now is the time…the perfect summer time!
Jayne Robertson, E-RYT 500, is owner and instructor at Desert Yoga Therapy in Rancho Mirage. For more information, visit www.desertyogatherapy.com or call (760) 456.5160. firstname.lastname@example.org.