It’s summertime! And I’ve really felt a tendency to be near a computer as little as possible these past couple months. Today, though, I’m a bit bursting at the seams, and really wanting to share a few tidbits that have felt exceptionally useful for me in the summer months. Here they are.
1. Leverage the heat of summer with some deep, lasting stretching sessions. Your muscles and fascia are much more primed to really open up when it’s warm out. Want some guidance? A few great yoga instructors I know are (in order of intensity) Erin, Lesley and Troy. Or for only $4, Stretching is an awesome book that’s been a bit of a bible for me since high school.
2. Pick some blueberries. Eat them, can them, freeze them for winter. They’re an incredible superfood, in season right now.
3. Here’s an experiment: take note of how you feel in this moment. Now, find a place where you can see the sun, close your eyes, direct your face towards the sun, and put a smile on your face. (Do this whether it feels authentic or not; it might feel like you’re needing to force a smile; do it anyway.) Hold for 15 seconds. Then take note of how you feel. Repeat as necessary.
4. Spend some time moving in the water, whether it looks like formal swimming or not. Especially if you’ve been inactive lately, a swimming area like a lake or river is an exceptional place to be outside and to move in a way that’s near effortless for your joints.
5. Rest more. Seriously. Most of the maladies I work with could be seriously improved, if not resolved entirely, by a serious increase in quality rest. This rest may or may not look like actual sleep (though many of us could use more quality sleep, too, for sure). Your only accomplishment, if we can call it that, for this time is regeneration.
(I also see structural integration as very much invoking its own kind of rest, where we achieve an alignment that allows the prime movers to move and the stabilizers, the core, to stabilize … and both groups to relax when they’re not being recruited.)
6. Drink plenty of fresh, pure water. Add some lemon if you’d like. Need incentive? Watch this video. That’s the watery, gooey world of your fascia (the video is an in vivo shot of someone’s hand). Keep that all hydrated and feel way, way better than if you don’t.
7. Take a movement class. Need some ideas? For my fellow Seattleites, here are a few links to my favorite dance studio, my favorite climbing gym (they teach classes there), any number of fun, outdoor boot camps (I don’t have any one in particular to recommend). If you’re not into a class but want to get an awesome workout in, here’s a super cool smartphone app I’ve been using lately (for iPhone; Droid here).
8. Try the sunshine-and-smile experiment again, only this time feel that smile percolate up from your guts. Give it a try, seriously. It’s only 15 seconds of your life.
9. Be outside in the late summer. It’s an amazing time in the PNW. Mt Si and Tiger Mountain are both really lovely and close local hiking options. If you’re keen to get out on anything longer and looking for a guide, I’d highly recommend Kaf Adventures; they’re super competent, awesome wilderness guides.
10. Do what you will, and then … don’t sweat it. There’s an old saying that it’s “better to eat beer and franks with cheer and thanks, than sprouts and bread with doubts and dread.” And I very much agree.
There’s a really cool LifeHacker article here in a similar vein.
Enjoy, peace, Liam.