Summer Lovin’ – Sue Van Raes

S U M M E R L O V I N

Amidst the summertime season of heart opening and expansiveness, this is a gentle nudge to remember how some of the road maps within the yogic path – the Yamas and Niyamas – can be a helpful reminder and check point for ourselves.

The Yamas and Niyamas – Patanjali’s precepts to the yogic lifestyle – will reveal opportunities to realign with our wise and vibrant higher selves on the path to our health, vitality, and self-love.

When we feel ‘lit up’, ‘on fire’ and ready to expand into the fullness of the summertime (the most expansive time of the year) the time to roll out our mats, practice,  immerse into our hearts desires, and sink into our intentions for ourselves is potent and presencing.

Summer is known as the season of the heart, the element of fire, and the emotion of love and compassion.  This is a rich time to introduce the power of AHIMSA into our focus, which is defined as heartfelt compassion and non-violence to self and others.

Turning AHIMSA inwards towards ourselves on our yogic pursuit will show us the deeper currents of our inner harmony, how we feed our bodies, and the dominion of our self-love practices.

The first step is to focus on the cessation of the harming at the levels of actions, speech, and thoughts. Then, the natural love can come shining through.

When we practice Ahimsa, we have more compassion towards ourselves.  As a result, we practice turning down the volume of our inner critic.

It is often said that AHIMSA is the root of the Yoga practice; that all other practices and awareness stem from the practice of AHIMSA

If we can journey into the heart, sit and find compassion to be gentle with ourselves, that may just be the personal medicine we need to create a more positive internal dialogue, and remind us to tend to ourselves with kindness and love in all things, including food and body.

LIFESTYLE:

A mind that is filled with harmony and peace is a mind that is filled with AHIMSA.

As Bri Maya Twari says herself in her book Abundance – From Feast to Fast:

“Peace for one must be peace for all.

Prosperity for one must be abundance for all.

Food for one must be health for all.”

We see AHIMSA in our lives where we cultivate personal awareness, where we hone our daily habits towards harmony and health; where we see our actions, our speech, our selfless service, and our reverence towards life, love and nature abound.

Try this:

Give yourself some space to pause.  Take some time each day to tend to yourself – find a radical gratitude for the beauty, love, and life you have around you.  Celebrate the beauty, the abundance and the warm sun around you and within you.

Listen to the midsummer sounds of nature – the dawn chorus of birds, the dancing rush of the creeks and rivers, and the children laughing playfully as they frolic through the tall grass enjoying the freedom of summertime.

Star gaze.  Sit by the bonfire late into the starry night communing with nature.  Follow the moon cycles.

FOOD:

Enjoy garden salads, bites of juicy cooling watermelon, and other farmer’s market delicacies.

There are many ways to bring AHIMSA to our eating in the season of abundance, lushness and fervor.

  • Bring a presence and mindfulness in the way in which we eat.  Slow down and love yourself with each bite.
  • Elevate your awareness as to the sources and sweetness that go into your summertime meals: the farmers who grew the food, the creativity and love cooked into each meal and of course those who we are so blessed to share our mealtimes with.
  • Keep our awareness high around the ways in which we talk to ourselves about our eating. If this is a challenge, then try a mantra of food affirmation.
  • Craft ritual, intention, and a calm atmosphere in which we eat to nurture the many layers of ourselves.  Set the outdoor table with fresh flowers and candles.  Pick fresh food from you garden to include in your meal, and say a heartfelt blessing to initiate your eating.

AHIMSA brings awareness to ‘DOING NO HARM’ to both our physical bodies and the awareness of our thoughts around our eating.

Try this:  

Create a calm space to eat; slow down, give yourself time for a moment of ritual, gratitude and time to eat your food mindfully.

Eat free from distraction, television, and stress.

Practice loving and accepting yourself no matter how successful or unsuccessful you feel about your eating and your body.  This is a delicate practice that requires rewiring our internal dialogue with kindness.

Yoga and Meditation

Practicing with the intention of AHIMSA can mean many things on our mats.

We can practice calming our minds and watching our thoughts closely, engaging in loving thoughts towards ourselves.

We can practice opening our hearts to more grace and gratitude for others in our lives.

We can simply BE with ourselves, listen to our subtle bodies, and elevate our gentleness towards ourselves and others.

If you enjoyed this article

Sue is the founder of Boulder Nutrition, local yoga instructor, and retreat facilitator. Sue founded, Boulder Nutrition in 2003, and teaches a combination of yoga, nutrition and food psychology in her practice.
Sue leads both individual programs, and on-going women’s groups and retreats both locally and internationally.
Sue’s insight on nutrition and food psychology has been featured in numerous publications, including People Magazine, Natural Solutions Magazine, and Elephant Journal.
Sue’s mission is to help heal the feminine through food, mind-body connection and pleasure.
Check out her book Health Wise, and her new ORIGINAL online course – Eat.Pray.Yoga. For Women.