In the language of Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, summer is the Pitta season. Pitta is composed of the fire and water elements and relates to the season as well as our own constitutions. In the heat of summer, we want to employ practices that help calm, cool and balance the activity and heat of the season.
Knowing how to use yoga postures (asana), pranayama (breathing) and meditation (dharana) to balance the season’s heat and Pitta’s intense personality can help to cool the system – physically, emotionally and mentally. When you’re feeling agitated, restorative forward bends help relax the nervous system and cool the heat. cooling and calming pranayama such as nadi shodhana or sittali breath can help keep the system balanced and meditation helps settle and clear the mind.
Check out this month’s home practices — cooling restorative practice for those hot summer days, and a post-ride practice for after your favorite summer cycle.
Dear Students, Teachers and Friends of Practice,
Two years ago, on April 1, 2013, I opened the doors to the Practice studio to offer a tranquil, quiet space as a refuge for all who work and live in downtown Portland to be able to step out of the busy-ness of life and develop personal yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices. The teachers who have brought classes and workshops to Practice and all of the students who have come into the studio have each been part of creating a beautiful sanctuary and taking the fruits of their practice into their daily lives.
I have enjoyed every part of being involved in offering Practice to the community. At the end of March, I am transitioning Practice from studio to on-line resource to support students in their home-practices. Practice will continue to serve all students in developing practices that are tailored to their individual needs and that support good health and well being throughout their lives!
If you have a mat or other items at the studio, please make plans to come grab them by March 29. Let me know if you need to get into the studio at a time other than your class time. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please contact the Practice teachers for updates on their on-going classes and offerings around town!
Thank you so much for coming to Practice and bringing your interests and energy to the space. Enjoy the final two weeks of classes and workshops and I wish you all the best in your yoga and meditation journey!
Kripalu’s Institute for Extraordinary Living (IEL) has produced some pretty amazing research in its nine years — looking at the benefits of yoga, meditation and mindfulness on school communities, with first responders, veterans struggling with PTSD, college students, musicians, and more. The benefits of this research to all of us are a much deeper understanding of the very real and positive effects that a regular practice can have on our lives, our families and our communities.
Read some of the Kripalu’s IEL research here:
Thanks to all who have pursued this research and to all who have participated. The research makes such a difference to those of us who are out teaching students and communities what the promise and impact of yoga can be, with regular practice, on our physical, mental and emotional well-being.
The changing light, the later mornings, the texture of the air and the symphony of crickets’ chirps outside remind me that summer is waning and autumn is nearing. I have mixed emotions at this time of year. I am wistful that summer is ending but excited about the turn of the season, the crisp air, the harvest and the fresh energy of autumn. Today, I am reminded yet again, to enjoy and live this moment, to revisit my practice to stay grounded and centered, to breathe, to be present and to attend to today’s offerings – be they gift or challenge — or in the words of David Whyte, to work together with this world and bring “the visible and invisible together in common cause to produce the miraculous.”
I am reminded to start my day with my own time, to sit still with one, two or maybe five breaths, to settle into my body with gentle movement and attend to body, mind and spirit before I begin each day. As we move toward autumn and enjoy these final weeks of summer, what is is that you come back to in your practice? How do you work with your practice to ground and nurture self and spirit to “produce the miraculous?”
We have new and returning classes, workshops and teachers in the studio this fall to support your practice! Check out our calendar and make your plans now for regrounding and renewing your practice in the weeks ahead!
by David Whyte
We shape our self
to fit this world
and by the world
are shaped again
and the invisible
in common cause,
to produce the miraculous.
I am thinking of the way
the intangible air
traveled at speed
round a shaped wing
easily holds our weight.
So may we, in this life
trust to those elements
we have yet to see
or imagine and look for the true
shape of our own self
by forming it well
to the great
intangibles about us.
—from The House of Belonging,
©1996, Many Rivers Press
Practice takes many forms. For some, it is yoga movement, mindfully moving the body and attending to the breath to bring body and mind to stillness. For others, it is sitting quietly to attend to breath and gently coax the mind’s activity to calm. For others, it’s a long bike ride, hike or kayak, feeling the body in rhythmic movement while attending to the road, the waves, the trail and the weather. For others still, it’s sitting to write or pausing one’s motion to listen to a child tell their story. In the summer, feeling the sun on our skin, listening to the waves at the beach or the birds in the trees can all become practice. Whatever and whenever we practice, the effort brings us to the present moment, to that place where we are attentive and aware of life as it happens. Dropping the ruminations of what has come before and the desires of what may come next, sitting in the present moment allows us, at last, to truly experience the deliciousness of life with our whole being. Renowned poet Mary Oliver expresses it perfectly in this excerpt from her poem “The Summer Day”:
“I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention,
how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
Excerpted from Mary Oliver New and Selected Poems, 1992
Beacon Press, Boston, MA