tree in the kitchen Summer vacation time is almost here for most educators, and for some, it may have already arrived.  It’s a time to rejuvenate body, mind, and spirit.  Certainly, being removed from the day-to-day pressures of getting projects completed, report cards done, and your materials packed away for the summer is an immediate  help in de-stressing.   (Non-educators have their own set of work place stressors and can benefit from rejuvenation time too.)  But what else can you do that will help you unwind? There are many possibilities.  Here are just a few.  See if one or two are a fit for you . . . .

1.  Luxuriate in bed a bit before getting-up.  Take the time to stretch your body.  Reach long through your heals and then relax.  Do this a few times then stretch your arms long overhead if you have room or reach them toward the ceiling.  Inhale reach.  Exhale relax.  Next, if you want a bit more wake-up time, stretch, sliding your right leg and arm away from each other and then the left arm and leg.  Repeat this a few times.  Now, if you can afford even more time to yourself, stretch the right arm and left leg away from each other and then the left arm and right  leg away from each other, and then relax them.  Take advantage of not having to jump out of bed to get ready for school.  Start your day at a slower pace even before your feet hit the ground. . . .

2.  Deliberately slow your steps down.   Concentrate on feeling your bare feet touch the floor or earth.  Notice what part of your foot hits the surface first.  Allow yourself to move more like turtle than moving with fast, rabbit steps as you most likely did during much of the school year.  You don’t need to race now.  How nice is that?

3.  Take the time to notice.  Notice what?  Notice anything and everything around you.  It’s possible that you may have missed the iris growing in your garden as I did one year.  By the time I noticed them, they had passed, just wilted blossoms left on the stem.  It was a big disappointment.  So make a point to notice the flowerbed as you walk  along the sidewalk to the front door.  Look up at the sky when you go out to get in your car, really see the clouds.  Turn your head to the sun and let its rays warm your skin.  Look for the bird that is singing in the tree.  Stop and notice.  Use your senses to enjoy the world in which you live.

4.  Make a date on your calendar to do something for yourself, your private time to do whatever you wish.  Most importantly, make sure you keep the date with yourself.

5.  Breathe.  And breathe some more.  Slowly, deeply, fully . . . Breathe in, “I am peace.”  Breathe out, ” I am calm.”  (See directions for complete, dirgha breath Chapter 3 , page 42 )

6.  Brush your teeth after breakfast while you stand in tree posture or do it while you peel vegetables at the sink for dinner as one of my yoga students does.  You’ll be taking care of your needs in more ways than one!  If you’re not sure how to do tree posture, watch the video below.  Not only does tree posture, Vrksansana, help with balance, it helps to strengthen the feet, legs, buttocks, back, abdomen, and shoulders  as well as fostering focus.

Allow yourself to fully unwind this summer.   Give yourself the gift of time, of slowing down, of appreciating your surroundings, of being present in each moment.  Enjoy the turtle life for awhile, and when fall returns, see if you can’t maintain a part of turtle essence then too.

Warm summer blessings,


P.S.  Those who are not teachers can benefit from these unwinding suggestions too.  Give them a try. . . .

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