Before you know it, the flowers are blooming, the sun’s out to stay, and the boots in the shoe closet are being traded for sandals and flip-flops again. I feel as if the arrival of June surprised everybody, mostly because of the weird weather we’ve been having. It’s hard to believe it’s already June considering there was an ice storm in Toronto about a month back. But obviously, nobody is complaining about this change we’re seeing.
June is always an exciting time of year. It’s when the weather is nice and warm, but still not scorching hot to the point where you’re afraid to leave the comfort of your air conditioner at home. There’s all this energy in the air – anticipation for the summer ahead, a longing for weekends spent at the cottage. I view June as a transition period. The precursor to the summer months. The precursor to longer days, better nights, and patio season.
To piggyback off of all the energy that I get in June, I wanted to introduce a new series to my blog – Monthly Musings. Each month, I’ll be writing one post about all the things that I’m learning, doing, or simply thinking about during the month. Hence the term musings. Every month, I always feel like something new is happening, so I want to be able to get that down and it gives me a chance to reflect.
So, let’s dive into the musings for June.
I’ve written a post before on how important hot yoga is in my day-to-day life and I still stand by it. My official start to my four-month summer was in May and with the start of a new job and an online summer course, I needed some time to establish a good routine where hot yoga could be a big part of that routine. Now, after a full month of trials and adjustment, I’m ready to fully jump back into my hot yoga regimen again. For me, this involves taking a class at least 3 or 4 times per week. Because of my job, this usually means that I have to do the classes at night, and make time for class on weekend mornings (which I never mind). For the last year or so, I’ve been working hard on perfecting the downward dog flow series. There was always one part of the flow (Chaturanga into Upward Dog) that I found challenging because I just didn’t have the arm strength for it, so I made it a priority in each class to focus on just getting stronger. Finally, the flow now comes so much easier to me and I’ve been able to adjust for small details and alignment issues here and there.
What I’m working on:
My next goal for the month of June (and likely July) is to do the crow pose, which involves having your two hands on the ground, your knees pressed against the back of your upper arms, and your two feet in the air. Again, I’ve never been able to do this pose because of not having the upper arm strength for it but now that the strength is building, it’s my goal to get my feet up in the air by the end of summer break.
I think in yoga, while the end goal is never the pose itself, it’s still important to work on different poses as you go through different stages of your practice. There’s this sense of happiness and accomplishment in being able to do a pose you couldn’t do a year ago after hard work, sweat, and perseverance. Each aspect of yoga, whether it’s the pose, the breath, or trying to get rid of the thoughts in your head, come with time and practice. One of the teachers at my studio always say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” when she refers to challenging poses, and I think that’s exactly what we need to keep in mind.
Running has never been my thing. I’ve always found it hard to run for longer than 5 or 10 minutes at a time, either because a cramp comes up, I’m fighting for breath, or I’ll just get tired. Even after almost 2 full years of being dedicated to hot yoga, I still find it hard to run long-distance. So, to not let this stop me, I’m trying to get in the habit of going for runs in my neighbourhood. I find the Nike + Run Club app to be really helpful – it connects with your Spotify account, it keeps track of the route you run, it helps you set goals for your running, it tracks your timing and pace, and it allows you to participate in challenges, either by yourself or with a local running community. I’ve mostly just been using it to set attainable goals for myself. It might be 1.5 km at first without stopping. Then 2.5 km. Then maybe 5 km. The important thing that I need to remind myself is that I just have to keep running, keep pushing. I need to keep getting out there and just working on it, even if it takes all summer.
Summer, to me, always means that I have time to read for fun again. It’s the time to start going down the “to read” list that I make for myself throughout the year and to start immersing myself into the worlds of various books. What I’m trying to do throughout June is to expand my reading tastes and pick up books that I would not normally think of picking up. Those are usually books like biographies, non-fiction books, and more. I’ve always naturally gravitated towards poetry or fiction books, so I want to try to challenge myself by experimenting with different genres. Last month, I got through the biography of Phil Knight (co-founder of Nike), and I got the chance to read the highly-rated Sapiens book which details the history of humankind. It was honestly amazing, and I can definitely see why it got so much praise.
Learning a language has always seemed to be my “I’ll do it when I have time in the summer” action item. So, with summer in full swing, I want to make it a goal of mine to get back into the habit of learning Spanish on Duolingo. About two or three years ago, I did my first Spanish lesson on Duolingo and it was great. It was easy to pick up vocab and learn basic sentence structure. Now, with more time, I need to get back into it. Whether it’s doing a lesson every day or every week, I strongly believe it’s so important to refresh the memory so that I don’t permanently forget the language. French – normally something I study in my courses at school – was also something that I did not get to practice all of this year, simply because it was no longer in my school curriculum. For June, I also want to try and flip through a French book now and then (so I can make sure that I know how to say more than just ‘Bonjour’)
So, that’s it for June so far. With a 9-5 job and an online summer course, it has been difficult to find time for all these things, while still making sure I’m seeing friends on a weekly basis. But, it is what it is sometimes, and I just keep trying to balance it all.