The summer has arrived! Probably the most anticipated and eagerly awaited season, the summer is a time to recharge the internal batteries. My yoga practice usually deepens during the summer months unlike any other time of the year. My senses are more alert and I seem to take more time. It blossoms differently in ways that always surprises me. This is the way I approach my summer yoga practice. Perhaps it speaks to you?
This is the best part of my summer practice! When I am teaching or practicing at the studio, it is glorious to open up the windows and let the breeze circulate through the studio. When I am practicing away from the studio, I often bring my mat out on the lawn just below a majestic four hundred year old oak tree. The birds are chirping, the leaves are dancing and even a few bugs join me on my mat. The breath seems to flow in tandem with the breeze. Its magical and healing. Nothing else is more grounding than the gentle guidance and wisdom of old trees to reconnect with the self!
Reset your internal clock
During the summer months the pace of life slows down just a bit. This is the time when I feel myself becoming more in sync with the natural cycles. I wake earlier and I am ready to sleep when the sky finally begins to darken. The moon seems closer and even from a distance, the draw of the tides feel more forceful. I feel myself surrender just a little more fully to these forces and I am definitely the better for it! My yoga practice responds to the universe more intimately in the summer and I can feel its guidance when I get out of the way. Take the time to explore the universe through your yoga practice.
Nourishment through Eating
This is where I have fun!!! As a self described “foodie” I feel giddy at the possibilities before me. The plethora of farmers markets tickle my creativity. Eating seasonally and enjoying the abundance of locally grown fresh food is so fulfilling. This summer, consider feeding yourself with the intention of “nourishment” Nourishment goes beyond the physical means of feeding the body. Nourish your soul and mind with food! Feel your insides naturally cleansing and feel its delight. Might this be the time to try out a vegan diet? Forgo a bbq and bask in the glory of fresh salads and summer vegetables? Eat locally? Organically? Bring home a fruit or vegetable that you have never prepared or eaten and give it a go. Allow yourself to indulge with nourishment as your guide, your body will thank you and you will experience a new pleasure in eating!
Change your routines
With the longer days we seem to have more time (something we all seem to search for). Take the opportunity change things up a bit. Maybe this is the season to try an early morning yoga class? Maybe the longer and brighter evenings make it seem more plausible to try those evening yoga classes? Try a new teacher? A new type of yoga? Explore the benefits of restorative yoga and melt into restful shivasanas. In your home practice explore those poses that seem to challenge you more. Perhaps the summer energy will help you along that path. Perhaps your body is guiding you stay low and work on the ground more. Whatever it is, simply explore your body through asana and have fun.
The time lingering on the dock or in the comfy chair is perfect for exploring books that will open up your yoga perspective. There is so much written about yoga ranging from yoga blogs/magazines to novels to formal yoga study. Wherever your interests take you in yoga, there will be a book to support you. Look around and explore the world of yoga writings. I have listed a few yoga books in my past blog posting.
Naturally the breath seems deeper in the summer. Lingering on the inhalation brings so much to the senses. The soft aromas make each breath tantalizing and gratifying. The deep sighs the body releases when we finally reach the lake, when we find ourselves deep into the woods, or when see natures beauty is an opening of the soul. Our body opens in these moments so that the soul can experience the moment too. Summer is full of deep and lingering sighs and exhalations. Notice them. Live them.
Practice your internal listening
This is the most important part of your practice at any time of year. For me, it seems to come easier during the summer. Let your movements become a sort of meditation. Let curiosity guide your yoga practice. Be amazed at how parts of your body move independently but ultimately the body works as a harmonized whole. The sum is greater than the parts...remarkable! Listen to your body wisdom and intelligence. Celebrate what you can do! Celebrate what moves, what functions and how you heal! Listen to the quiet whispers, the tiny sighs, the gentle openings. You are an amazing being...listen and let your body and your breath communicate with you.
We have been given another summer to enjoy. We have been given a body to experience it with. What a gift and what an opportunity! Go outside and explore the world, explore your body and explore your yoga practice this summer.
Cultivate your yoga practice and take a moment at the beginning or ending of each practice to feel gratitude to your body. It carries you graciously through your lifetime!