The month of August feels like a gift of summer and holiday. With more time for relaxation and enjoyment of the small moments, this is the perfect time of year to introduce new habits that do not require much effort. Here are a few that I have enjoyed while on holiday and that enrich my life:
When my children were young there was no escaping practising patience to make things work. Now it is my yoga practice that teaches me patience! Everything we learn on the yoga mat can be translated into our life off the mat. This summer I found the following movement worked particularly well for patience:
- lying down in constructive rest (lying down on the back with knees flexed, feet on the mat, arms by your sides, head facing the sky), eyes open or closed
- inhale, bring right arm up and over
- exhale, turn head to the left
- inhale, turn head back to face the sky
- exhale, bring right arm back by your side
- repeat on the other side (with left arm over and turning head to the right), and then for as many times as feels good on both sides
It is a simple movement so it is easy to go fast. In case you try it, notice the tendency to do it quickly as you know what’s coming next. See if you can move arms and head really, really slowly. Stay with a calm breathing, one arm up and over at the time. Take you time.
I was in Norway last week and can tell you that a cold shower there is much colder than a cold shower here! Brrrr. If you are in England and you have considered trying cold showers then this is the best time to start.
Some cold shower beauty info: I recently heard a young man list several benefits of having a cold shower in the morning. It made me laugh when the first he mentioned was how a cold shower works as beauty product for skin and hair. This is true by the way. I have found that cold water greatly benefits the skin. The skin becomes smoother and looks more nourished with daily cold showers, and you will notice change in a matter of weeks. Ps. Vanity as a motivator for getting into the cold is totally fine.
Another cold shower benefit I would like to mention is this: When you start your day with something that feels uncomfortable, such as a cold shower, it naturally makes you ready for the rest of your day. You have already done the hard bit! The cold works as a great reset button for aliveness and alertness for your whole being. You will feel fantastic once it is done. (See here for how to get started.)
The month of August easily provides moments of calmness as it is hot and slow and you have time. Now is a great opportunity to practise gratitude. You could start by giving attention to where you are right now. Perhaps you are close to the sea, in the mountains, in a new city? Or perhaps you are simply passing a flower and it feels pleasant to give it your attention. Wherever you are, take a moment to pause and take in the view. Look for the good. Find it. Open for feeling grateful for the good that is here. Perhaps notice a sensation of aliveness and expansion within your body. There is always something around you that you can be grateful for. The mind and eyes just need a little bit of practice sometimes.
The more you practise gratitude, the more you will become grateful for, the more you will enjoy life.
Enjoy summer! Annette X