Summer is a season that comes with many rituals. For some, summers include a move to a cottage for the season, while others enjoy weekends at the lake or traveling for holidays to the same annual destination or someplace entirely new. These traditions allow you to experience a sense of coming back to a beginning, of sharing connection, and of filling your cup. It’s a time of healthy renewal.
If the rest of the year has depleted you, or caused stress or overwhelm, summertime spent in nature can help counteract these effects, soothing your soul. That’s why the summer can feel almost celebratory, especially if you live in a region where winters are harsh. It’s a season for being outdoors and reconnecting with yourself and nature by:
- Eating al fresco
- Walking in the park
- Going to the beach
- Hiking in the mountains
- Playing outdoor sports
Make your rituals even more special this summer by increasing your awareness of what they are and why they are so pleasing to you. One way to do this is to recognize how your rituals relate to the five elements foundational to Ayurvedic teachings:
You can use these five simple yet profound elements found in nature to find balance, leading to a healthier and happier life. These elements work together in harmony and can provide great foundations for developing summer rituals.
Earth is about structure, stability, and permanence. Your body and all of its parts are manifestations of the earth. Earth is:
It allows you to take root and feel stable. It teaches you to plant seeds and detach from the outcome. Great rituals to reconnect to the earth include:
- Walking barefoot in the sand
- Rock climbing
- Yoga to connect you to the earth element
Another more traditional ritual that is tied to the earth element is planting and sowing vegetables. You can use this season of growth as a guideline for your own personal growth trajectory:
A summer gardening ritual can be used as an interactive metaphor for mapping out your career, relationships, and goals of habit formation. You set a goal. Make a plan. Take action. And finally, you reap the benefits.
Water is the main principle of change and transportation. Water is necessary for the survival of all living things. In fact, the greatest portion of the human body is made up of water. Water is:
Water is powerful enough to carve pathways through rock and toss ships around as though they were weightless. Water reminds you to go with the flow, to stop resisting the current, and, of course, to hydrate. Water is a substance without stability. To harness the power of water this summer, try:
- Floating a river
- Yoga to connect you to the water element
Fire is connected with transformation and metabolism. It has the power to transform solids into liquids and liquids into gas. Fire is:
Fire is considered a form without substance. Cooking your meals over a campfire or having a bonfire on the beach are fantastic ways to play with fire safely.
Air governs the principle of movement. Anytime there is motion in nature, you know air is present. Within the body, air is the basis for all transfer of energy. It is a key element required for fire to burn, which connects those two elements. Air can:
- Be light and breezy or heavy and humid
- Crackle with excitement or filled with sorrow
- Teach playfulness, resilience, and freshness
Air is existence without form. Ways to connect with the air element this summer include:
- Flying a kite
- Yoga to connect you to the air element
Ether, or spirit, is the space in which everything happens. It is the field that is simultaneously the source of all matter and the space in which it exists. It can be basic as in gravity or elusive as with intuition. Air can:
- Be both ethereal and organic
- Teach trust, faith, and compassion
- Drive you to find purpose and experience beauty
Spirit is without form or substance. In order to reconnect with ether, try:
- A mindful walk through the woods
- An outdoor yoga class
- A meditation in a natural setting like the woods or the beach at sunset
Take a moment and reflect on your current summer rituals. Notice which ones you really love and spend time consciously remembering and which ones you might need to rethink. By following some of the principles outlined above, you can add to the meaning of your existing ones or potentially explore new ones. Whatever you do, remember to enjoy time this summer, basking in the warmth of tradition and engaging activities that fill your cup.
Cool off and find calm this summer with pitta-pacifying practices to nourish mind, body, and spirit in Summer Renewal, a four-part program with Dr. Sheila Patel, available now on the Chopra App.