Embracing the Borders of August: Balancing Summer Heat

IMG_0912“I love borders. August is the border between summer and autumn; it is the most beautiful month I know.

Twilight is the border between day and night, and the shore is the border between sea and land. The border is longing: when both have fallen in love but still haven’t said anything. The border is to be on the way. It is the way that is the most important thing.” ~ Tove Jansson

In general I’m pretty in love with the border spaces both in the rhythms of my day and the rhythms of my life. I know how to lean into their possibilities and navigate their mysteries. But I have often found the liminal nature of August to be a challenge.  Perhaps it’s a function of being stuck in the heat; motionless when the anticipation of summer and our family vacation in July has already passed, but the release of fall and shift into its crisp rhythms has yet to occur. Perhaps this is because no matter how “cool” of summer we’ve had, August is humid. Pressurized.

This August, instead of getting pulled into the depression and lethargy that often Summer Cool Downaccompanies this kind of border heat, I’ve decided to embrace it; to give myself fully to the swelling of whatever vision is being brought forth for the days and months to come. I invite you to do the same.

To embrace this border heat without trapping it in excess that can lead to burn- out, anger, lethargy and depression, it’s helpful to apply some simple, cooling lifestyle, spiritual, and yogic techniques to remain balanced. Here are some of my favorites.

Cooling Foods and Drink

  • Watermelon! Enjoy as much as you can. Try it in-between meals to avoid unpleasant bloating.
  • Enjoy other seasonal, cooling foods such as sweet berries, peaches, cucumbers and summer squash.
  • Add a few sprigs of fresh mint or cucumber to your water.

Cooling Breath

  • Step outside into the morning air and take a few deep breaths.
  • While you’re at it, spend a few moments in quiet meditation to cool and calm your mind. Notice the deep maturity of color on the trees, the vibrant blue of the sky.

Cooling Movement

  • Balance your intense, summer activities with the cooling poses on the sequence card above. Hold each pose for 5 breaths (or longer if you’d like), and Viparita Karni (legs up the wall) for up to 10 minutes.

Cooling Skin, Calming Nerves

  • Rub coconut oil into your skin before or after your shower. Let it soak in before you dress.

Whatever your feelings toward the month of August, I invite you to pause, enjoy the warmth and the light, notice the deep, mature green of the trees, use the tips above to keep yourself balanced, then reflect on and give thanks for the border spaces that lead the way in your life.

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