There's no denying it: we slide into September and a slight chill creeps into the air. While fall might be making its appearance, the fun of summer doesn't have to fade. To celebrate the coming of a new season and find ways to infuse some sweet summer vibes into a new phase of the year, we reached out to Insiya Rasiwala-Finn
- yogini, Bliss Army co-captain and mama to a little lion - to share some ways to keep that summer spirit alive.
MC: What does the 'summer spirit' mean to you?
I.R-F.: As mammals, we respond to light in a primal, ancient way. Light simply lights and warms us up from the inside out. Each summer we experience an increase of both the intensity and duration of external light outside, we are more energized, enlivened and as a result, happier. To me, that is the quintessential summer spirit: the feeling of winter’s heaviness dissipating, as though we’re shedding our metaphorical coats, easing our feet from boots into flip flops and embracing the simple sensuality in life, like walking barefoot on a grassy, meadowed field.
What does your family do to infuse fun into every day?
As parents of a 3 year old, it’s almost impossible not to have fun as our son seems to be bubbling up with an effortless sense of inner joy. We work quite often with him playing on the floor beside us and that means working on our laptops, and then taking a break to go outside and hunt for pinecones, or leaves, or digging for rocks or perhaps building a more elaborate train set. We also take “bliss breaks” where we do a mini yoga session which usually involves him climbing all over us, or we do jumping jacks and spin around, something to make sure we are not sitting for too long, which makes our energy dull and lethargic. While our lives are busy, the main lesson of summer that we can carry with us all year round is to have moments of true presence, when we can unplug (from technology) and appreciate each other and yes, tickle each other and laugh.
As the weather starts to get crisp, how do you keep the light and warmth of the summer alive?
From my studies in Ayurveda, I know that we need to keep our inner fire (agni) stoked, especially during the transition of the seasons. To do that, it’s important to take in the light, especially when the sun is at its highest, i.e. the middle of the day. I try to be outside during that time, breathing in fresh air and soaking up whatever rays of sunshine I can. Of course, it helps if you travel to southern climates as we often do in search of waves, but not everyone lives with a surf obsessed partner as I do!
What's a favorite summer experience that you integrate into the rest of the year?
We love picnics – they’re such a summer ritual for us. We have a picnic basket that is always stocked with glasses, silverware and cups. If it is a nice (read: not wet) evening, we will try to have dinner outside, even if it’s just on our deck. It means bundling up, but we still get the fresh air and an ocean view….how can that not remind you of summer?
Travel is a big part of your family's life: how do you keep things fun and light while on the move?
On our last road trip, we took a hammock down with us that we put up at various rest-stops along the road. Quite often we were surrounded by massive trucks, or trailers – but we spread a blanket on the grass, put the hammock up in a shady spot and took turns stretching out in it. It’s amazing how sitting either in an airplane or a car can stiffen your joints. Completely allowing your weight to be supported in a hammock was a wonderful feeling, while our son just enjoyed rocking in it. It made all of us smile.
What are three ways to make the sweet, light and fun vibe of summer last all year long?
Take “presence breaks”. In our perpetually tuned in world, take 5 minutes, every few hours to unplug, turn off your smart phone or laptop and pay attention to whatever is going on in front of you. Tune in to your breath; as my partner Eoin Finn says, “become a breath aficionado.” Taste your breath and pay attention to how it feels in your body. You may become aware of a place of tension in your body and, if you do, send your breath there. Take a big inhale and then sigh your breath out - with that, ease your worries or tension away.
Try something new! Summer is a time when we are more open to trying new things. See if you can carry that sensibility through the year. Test out a new workout that you’ve always wanted to, or take up flamenco dancing. Taste a new vegetable that you’re curious about and learn how to cook it. If you’re always at home on a Friday night with a movie, make a dinner date next Friday and mix up your routine. When we shift our life in small or large ways, we shift our perspective, which then allows us to be more open, more adaptable and less rigid, all summery qualities that can be so amazing for all aspects of our life.
Get outside. Embrace the season and get outside everyday, no matter what. While we may not be able to step out our front doors in flip flops anymore, we can relish the cool, crispness of fall and winter in cozy layers and breathe in all the antioxidant goodness of nature. This will help you to find harmony, joy and continuity in the change of seasons.
Insiya Rasiwala-Finn is one inspirational lady. She's a yogini, mamma, writer, Ayurvedic practitioner and ceritfied Blissology Yoga teacher who infuses mind-blowing amounts of love and light into everything she does. Her website - www.yogue.ca - is all about exploring and sharing the extraordinary things in life - from small to large. With her husband Eoin Finn and son Ananda, they're a sweet threesome travelling the globe and spreading more love and light through yoga, exploring waves and water bodies and making time for laughter along the way. Check out Insiya on Instagram and follow her journey onto the mat, across borders and into a life fueled by l-o-v-e.