In today’s verbiage what the Yellow Emporer’s Classic is saying is that we can take advantage of Summer for the greater development of ourselves. Here’s how.
Waking up early in the morning. Since the sun’s warmth is greatest in the Summer and since Summer is all about the sun, becoming attuned to the sun at this time makes sense. Ask your smartphone for tomorrow’s time of sunrise and set your alarm to wake up at daybreak. Even before you get out of bed admire the sunlight beginning to light up the environment. (If you haven’t been getting up this early, you’ll be amazed at how much more you accomplish in the day!) There’s a reason why Francis of Assisi called the sun and fire Brother. He saw his relationship with them as one of warmth, love, and support. Even if your Summer is extremely hot, learn to find the positive aspects of the sun’s heat and radiance as did Francis of Assisi.
Going to bed most nights at a decent hour. This is a must especially if you want to wake up early in the morning. It will happen naturally if you get in the habit of waking up with the sun.
Foregoing taking a nap during the day. The sun gives us energy both directly and indirectly. It pours its energizing rays into the fruits and vegetables we consume. When we enjoy Summer sunlight within reason, the light also has the potential to offer us energy right through the lens of our eyes and pores of our skin. Because of this, if we are harmonizing with and appreciating the Summer sun, we probably won’t need we feel to take a nap. If we forego taking an afternoon nap, it will also be that much easier to go to bed a bit earlier at night.
When anger bubbles to the surface, pausing and with positive intention diffusing it. Just a mere pause can be enough to keep us from reacting negatively to what happens around us. Everything happens around us but we don’t have to let it happen within us.
Being physically active. Summer is definitely the time for physical activity since the weather does not preclude us from participating in most sports or other activities. Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day help carry the Summer spirit forward. Take advantage of the warm weather and breezes, the flora that is gushing forth with color and life and the longer days in which we can accomplish and enjoy more than perhaps we do during other seasons.
Combining physical activity with spiritual practices such as meditation. Since physical activity is very grounding, meditation, contemplation, or prayer will help bring balance by uplifting our spirit. It will enable us to appreciate the beauty of the season even more.
Practicing pranayama, the yogic practice of breathing techniques, or just plain breathing consciously. Practice taking six breaths a minute which is a proven breathing technique for vitality. Even if we merely become aware of our breath it will assist us to deepen our breathing from the diaphragm for greater health and wellness. If at all possible, practice breathing outdoors.
Having fun and appreciating all the nature display Summer brings. Summer is synonymous with FUN and PLEASURE. And there’s nothing wrong with that! If we’re not in joy, if we’re unable to enjoy our lives, we can’t create much that is good, beautiful or true. We must give our creativity the fertile soil of joy and the way to joy is through appreciation of all the little (and the big) things in life… the birds that chirp at four in the morning, the bumblebee buzzing around your flowers, the breeze that brushed against your face while taking an evening walk or the playful shrief of a child in the park. The more we appreciate, the more joy we have and this Summer, the more balance we will experience in our lives all the way around.
This blog post, originally published May 21, 2016, has been updated on May 6, 2019 for freshness, comprehensiveness and accuracy.