There’s no denying the magic of lazy summer days.
You know, the ones where soft sand calls our name, and we spend our eating fruit and drinking in sunlight. It’s the time of the year where adventure beckon us, to create some of our most treasured memories…
On the other side of the spectrum, it’s all too easy to complicate our lives with pressure. We can get bogged down and start to feel stale, rather than inspired. When this occurs, we’re called towards a spiritual refreshment: to reframe our perspectives, open up our spirit, and reconnect with our hearts.
Whether your summer calendar is full of quiet days or brimming with plans, this season provides us all with the chance to take a deep breath of the soul.
Here are a few tips!
1. Summer Swims
As Euripides told us all the way back in 420BC, ‘the sea washes away the ills of all mankind…’ and this was no exaggeration. The Ocean’s natural energy is incredibly restorative, relaxing, and soothing. Spending time near the sea can connect you with a deep spiritual healing that goes beyond your physical body. There is something in the intense power and beauty of the ocean that when we allow it, calls us to be truly present. This idea is summed up pretty nicely by Adam Royal:
‘The ocean bombards us with multi-sensory stimulation, we feel the grains of sand, we taste and smell the salt, the wind rushes over our face and body, we hear the waves break and move and feel the water on our skin. It is complete sensory immersion leaving us with no choice but to remain in the present.’
So here’s a practice for you! Next time you are swimming in the ocean, lake or a river – meditate on the knowledge that you are made of up about 70% water. Imagine yourself being immersed into and becoming one with the water, and surrender to the flow of life. This simple visualisation has the power to align and rejuvenate the flow of energy within yourself.
On a physical level, studies have suggested that sea water has the ability to strengthen the body against viruses, low defences, bacteria and pathogens.
2. Enjoy the birdsong
Birdsong is nature’s own meditation music… and in Australia we’re blessed with plenty of it! This summer, try tune in and occasionally listen to the singing of our birdlife – this can be an incredibly calming and grounding practice. You can even use it as a prompt for meditation: whenever you hear birds singing, move your attention towards them, away from your stream of thoughts, and into the present.
There have been plenty of studies conducted on how natural sounds can elevate our mood. According to Julian Treasure, author of Sound Business:
‘People find birdsong relaxing and reassuring because over thousands of years they have learnt when the birds sing they are safe, it’s when birds stop singing that people need to worry. Birdsong is also nature’s alarm clock, with the dawn chorus signalling the start of the day, so it stimulates us cognitively.’
If you’re an early riser, perfect! So are the birds. Right before sunrise, and with the noisiest birdsong is the perfect time for a morning meditation.
‘Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair…’
― Susan Polis Schutz
3. Do Some Inspiring Reading
Outdoors in the sunshine is the perfect place to curl up with a great read. The best seller lists of summer are usually filled with thrillers or romance novels, but why not try read something a little deeper? For example, you could read a biography of a spiritual leader you admire. Uplifting books have the power to evoke change, inspiration and momentum. We have some great book suggestions both here and here.
‘Summer afternoon… summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.’ ― Henry James
4. Take A Break and Meditate
Summer doesn’t mean that we have to jump on planes and head off to faraway destinations to escape the pressures of everyday life.
We can start simply, by getting into the habit of taking a break from technology. This sunny season provides us with the perfect incentive to turn off the TV and phone, and to disconnect from the outside world in order to enjoy some quality ‘me’ time, in nature.
If you don’t already have a daily meditation practice, this is the perfect time to start! Take advantage of the warm weather and try an outdoor meditation, seated on a blanket in your backyard. Or better yet, look up into the gorgeous night summer sky and meditate on the stars!
‘It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine … it’s summertime!’ ― Kenny Chesney
5. Enjoy the sunshine
Recent studies have confirmed that a healthy dose of sunshine supports our immune systems, reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, asthma, IBS and even multiple sclerosis.
Plus of course there is the issue of Vitamin D. The 2014 Australian Health Survey reflected that around a quarter of the population is in fact Vitamin D Deficient, and that we’re spending roughly $95 million on supplements on this fact!
Sunlight also induces our ability to produce serotonin, hence the drop in our moods and SAD (seasonal affective disorder). This is four times more common in women, but tends to be lifted in the longer, sunnier days of summertime. Certainly don’t roast yourself, but just 5-10 minutes in the sunshine each day will work wonders!
For a summer getaway that feeds your spirit, why not let us take care of it? At Happy Buddha we would love to have you. Waterfalls, music meditation, morning yoga, fresh and healthy food for the soul… we’ve got you covered!