This has been an unusually hot summer so far here in southern Ontario. Our current heat wave has lasted over two weeks and is showing few to no signs of letting up.
With temperatures hovering around 35 C (90 Fahrenheit) every day and soaring into the 40s Celsius range (100+ Fahrenheit) regularly, my air conditioner can’t keep up with the heat and humidity. I count myself lucky when it pumps out cool air!
It is for these reasons that I decided to blog about mindfulness and heat waves today. Feel free to play around with this format to best suit your needs depending on where you’re performing this exercise and what your senses detect while you’re doing it.
As you notice the feeling of sweat beading on your skin or the heat from the sun reaching your body, try to take note of these sensations without judging them. Simply acknowledge them and move on.
Note the sensations of the surface you’re sitting, lying, or walking around on. Are your bare feet touching a patch of soft grass? Can you feel the heat of the sidewalk through your flip flops? Is the hammock you’re lying on moulding to your body? Is the bench you’re sitting on a smooth one?
If possible, close your eyes and listen to the sounds of everything around you. Do you heard birds chirping? Car engines revving? A distant conversation? The wind rustling through the trees?
It’s perfectly normal to feel distracted during one of these sessions. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back into focus again. Keep your eyes open or closed as you wish for the rest of it. Soak in every part of this moment you can.
Feel your skin’s reaction to the heat. Are you perspiring? What other sensations on that part of your body are currently happening?
Breathe in and out slowly. Notice how your breath changes the sensations you’re experiencing. Is it cooler or warmer than the outside air?
How is your mind functioning in this weather? What thoughts are rolling through your head? Some people may feel less energetic on days like this. If you can, rest for a little while at the warmest part of the day.
Gentle acceptance and curiosity is key. How is your experience in this heat wave shifting as a result of this practice? It will probably take multiple sessions to notice changes, but everyone is different.
Breathe in, breathe out.
May all of us in hot, summery places stay as cool and mindful as possible.