Updated: Feb 21, 2019
I love this time of year. Longer, warmer days means more time spent outside. It also means I tend to fill my days with a lot more activities - gardening, hiking, swimming, catching up with friends, earlier mornings, longer working hours, later dinners - and my list of things to do seems never ending. With all the buzz and energy that comes as summer approaches, I notice I can go days without pausing. Eventually, if I don’t take time out to switch off, something is going to happen to ensure that I do just that - a summer cold or flu, rolled ankle, headache - you name it, the body is very clever at getting what it needs if we’re not listening to its signals.
We carve out time for endless activities, commitments and higher levels of productivity during these warmer months. Equally as important (and I’d even argue more so) is carving out time to switch off. Giving ourselves the time to just be opens up the space to tune in to what we want, allowing us to intentionally shape how we spend our time, ultimately makes up our lives.
Here are some simple suggestions for ways to switch off so you can better tune in.
Lie yourself down outside somewhere, close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you. If you notice thoughts arise, which they will, bring your attention back to the sounds you hear.
Sit down in a comfy position, close your eyes and feel your breath moving in and out of your body. When you notice your mind has wandered off, gently bring your attention back to the feeling of your breath coming into and leaving your body.
Go for a relaxing walk by yourself and leave your phone at home or in the car. Walk slower than you normally would and feel the sensations of your body moving. Step mindfully with your attention softly focused the feeling of the ground underfoot or the subtle movement of rotation in your body as you walk. Lift your gaze and take in your surroundings.
Retreat to your bedroom, put some earplugs in if there's noise or distractions in the house and take 10 deep, full breaths. Inhale slowly and completely through your nose and exhale with a gentle sigh out your mouth all the way to empty. After your 10 breaths, notice how differently you feel to just a few minutes ago.
Slow, intentional movement is one of the most effective ways to switch off and turn inward. Yin yoga is a wonderful way to experience this stillness. In yin yoga, postures are generally held for 3-5 minutes and ask that you focus your attention on the sensations in your body, the rhythm of your breath and to be the observer of your thoughts as they arise and fall away. At our studio, we offer classes that integrate yin yoga on Tuesdays at 6.45pm, Fridays at 12.15pm and Sundays at 6.30pm. You're welcome to join us on the mat anytime. Be sure to check our class schedule for updated class times.
Looking to bring a bit more of those still moments into your life? I highly recommend “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. It’s an oldie but a genuine goodie!