How to Honor the Transition from Spring to Summer
As the air gets warmer and the days get longer, it’s not only the seasons that change. We experience mental, physical, and emotional shifts, as well.
And that’s great, right? It’s summer! Moods are flying high! Time to get out in nature, lounge by the pool, and shed the heavier, cloudier feeling we get during the cold winter months. New season, new you!
That energy is exciting and uplifting, but it can uplift us too far. At this time of year, we want to grow with the flowers, but we have to remember that flowers have physical roots that ground them to the earth. Lucky daffodils. We don’t, so we need to cultivate mental and emotional roots to stay balanced amidst the changes.
Honoring the transition from spring to summer means embracing the freshness while recognizing the changes in our bodies and emotions. Here are a few tips for a balanced approach to this transition.
Adjust Your Diet
Pitta is the fiery life force responsible for metabolism, hormone regulation, and digestion. People with pitta-dominant constitutions tend to be competitive, determined, and organized, but when that fire grows too hot, it can lead to digestive issues, difficulty sleeping, or increased anger and irritation.
Pitta is having its moment in the heat of summer, so especially for those pitta-dominant people, it’s important to pacify the inner fire with cooling foods—and not just a frozen lemonade. It helps to limit your intake of spicy foods, alcohol, garlic, and (dare we say it) coffee, while increasing your intake of leafy greens, fresh fruits and vegetables, avocados, and beans.
Change Your Sleeping and Waking Routine
More daylight may inspire you to stay up later or wake up earlier. To help you stay cool through the night, sleep on your right side. This opens up your left nostril, inviting the cooling lunar energy that is associated with the left side of your body to flow.
Practice Transitions on the Mat
Can’t we just do something on the mat without having to think about how it translates into everyday life? Not a chance. Because everything we do on the mat has a real-life connection, and that includes transitions.
Transitioning between poses requires concentration and careful breathing. The more we practice, the smoother the transitions become. Guess what? Same in life! As you move into summer, take some extra time practicing chaturanga, a classic transitional pose, along with other challenging transitions, like how to move from warrior II into handstand. The more confident you are with mat-based transitions, the more confident you’ll be with life-based ones.
Adjust Your Yoga Practice
If we’re doing the same things on the mat every day, all year long, we’re not taking advantage of the opportunity we have to use yoga to help us navigate life.
As the seasons shift, welcome the bright light of summer with sun salutations or the Gayatri mantra, which honors the divine light. As the summer goes on and the heat builds, a Chillaxing Pitta-Focused Flow is great for calming the system and reducing inflammation. Do more cooling forward bends like child’s pose and standing wide-legged forward fold and other cooling, calming poses like tree and savasana.
Check In With Yourself
Throughout the season, keep an open dialogue with the coolest person you know. (Do we need to say it? That’s you.) Take a deep breath and check in:
Are you feeling untethered? Try grounding poses like easy pose or warrior II, or try walking barefoot outside. This practice, actually called “grounding,” has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and help regulate the endocrine and nervous systems. Plus, it lets you get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather.
Are you overheated? Try sitali breath: hold your mouth in an “O” shape with your tongue curled and slightly out. Breathe the cool air in, then close your mouth and exhale the hot air through your nose.
Chandra bhedi is another great cooling breath. It’s like alternate nostril breathing, except you always inhale through the left nostril and exhale through the right.
Look to your mat to help you regulate any out-of-balance sensations and get back on track to enjoying the best summer ever—not necessarily because it’s full of concerts and barbecues and running through meadows (although maybe it is!), but because you’re present for it. You’re enjoying what is, while it is, during this time of transition.
If you’re looking for some guidance during this seasonal transition, be sure to check out our other blog posts!