With the Toronto stop on the Lolë White Tour just around the corner, yoga teacher Grace Dubery shares her insights on how to stay connected and make the most of summer.
A teacher and friend always used to say, “August goes by like a freight train.” In other words, it goes by so fast, if we blink, we’ll miss it. I suppose that is very much true, not just of August, but maybe of summer altogether. And although we are quick and joyful in celebrating the season’s arrival, we know well that winter is just around the corner. So what then can we do to really embrace this short-lived summer and what more can we do to fully enjoy it? Here are some suggestions that I hope will help you make the most of summer.
Leave your phone at home while grocery shopping
We panic if our phone runs low on battery but allow ourselves to keep running on empty—recharging our phone battery instead of recharging ourselves. I sometimes catch myself walking around with my phone in my hand for no reason whatsoever, even when I’m not expecting a call. The paradox of technology is that even while keeping us connected with those far and wide, it can stand in the way of time spent with ourselves or those near and dear. When was the last time you went phone-free? Can you sit and savour a book or practice some deep breathing without the itch to scroll or tap? As an exercise, give yourself an hour each day to go outside. Enjoy the sweet smell of fresh air; look and listen to the life that’s out there. The next time you go grocery shopping, try leaving your phone at home. Enjoy the space.
Take a walk in the morning or at the end of the day, and take your shoes (and socks) off in a park
Feel the blades of grass between your toes, the firmness of the earth beneath the soles of your feet. After the boots, layers, and never-ending collection of socks, I crave flip-flops and bare feet more than anything. Every year I find I go sockless a few weeks too early. We get so little time outside throughout the year that we must take advantage of it while it lasts. Being outdoors in nature gives us tremendous mental health benefits. It helps us rejuvenate our senses and it calms the mind. It’s also an opportunity to disengage from our day, be with ourselves, and breathe more deeply. And if we take our shoes off, we actually get to connect to the earth’s pulse and recharge ourselves.
Be silent + be present
And I mean silence, not just sleep. Do you take time to pause during the day to listen to what your breath sounds like? Close the door, sit, take a few deep breaths, and just listen to the chatter subside. The gift of silence allows us to experience deep rest. As the rhythm of your body slows, you are able to enter the present moment and find your true self. There’s no place to go, this is your time to simply let go and be. Surrender to the quiet of your mind.
Connect to community
And I don’t mean your Facebook network. Honour your need for authentic face-to-face connection, activity and the vibrancy of community. Summer is prime time for outdoor festivals and gatherings, but if your list of things to do seems endless, choose the ones that will bring you the greatest joy and peace. One way to bring all these elements into your life is through the practice of yoga and meditation outdoors. On August 22nd, I will be doing just that with thousands of others at Fort York for the 3rd annual Lolë White Tour stop in Toronto.
This summer, take time to disconnect so you can reconnect. Find bliss in the golden sun, blue skies, and green grass—and also in the moments you make for yourself.