Make Yoga Part of your Summer Plans
Going to the beach. Camping trips. Family vacations.
Those are the kind of activities that fill our calendars as we approach summer. And while it’s fun to go out and enjoy summer, it’s easy to get carried away with the “busyness” of summer.
While the sun shines down on us, I find myself wanting to burst with the same type of energy. I want to run, jump, and soak up the sun. Only thing is, I always find myself getting exhausted from my summer plans if I’m not careful.
So to minimize any summer time burn out, I'm going to make a particular type of yoga practice part of my summer plans. Here’s a five-pose sequence to keep you grounded and rejuvenated between your summer adventures. These poses are relatively gentle and more cooling than heat-inducing.
Take some time at least once a week to set your own pace with a yoga routine for self-care. Or better yet, find ways to incorporate these poses into your fast paced, breezy summer days.
NO. 1 EASY POSE/SUKHASANA
Easy pose is the quintessential meditation pose.
Find a straight, neutral spine and a stable foundation to sit in for a couple of breaths.
Notice if there’s any mental chatter or tension in your body. If it’s part of your practice, you can meditate for 5-10 minutes.
Take it with you: If you’re outside, it’s also fun to sit in easy pose and take in a beautiful view while on a picnic or at a beach.
NO. 2 mountain pose/tadasana
Mountain pose is standing pose. The difference from your normal stance and mountain pose is whether you’re aware of your alignment and energy. Here are some tips.
Foundation: Notice your feet placement. Take your feet hip width apart. Press down into the four corners of your feet.
Activation: Engage your leg muscles and notice if you can feel an upward energy from your feet. Think of your feet as roots drawing up energy into the trunk of your body, going through the crown of your head.
Core: Your spine is supported by slight engagement in your core. Your shoulders are also relaxed and your arms fall naturally by your side.
Choosing to stand intentionally and adjusting your stance into mountain pose can be one of the easiest ways to do yoga right on the spot. Try this out the next time you find yourself standing.
NO. 3 LOW LUNGE/ANJANEYASANA
Lunges can be both a strengthening and grounding experience.
From standing, step one leg back and lower your knee.
Make sure your hips are facing straight in front of you and that your knee doesn’t go beyond your ankle.
You may want to draw attention to your core and make sure there's the same engagement in lunge as in mountain pose to support your torso.
Your arms can be down, or you can lift them up. Whatever your body calls for once you get the lower legs settled.
Notice the points of contact in your lower body. And don’t forget to do both sides!
NO. 4 TREE POSE/VRKSASANA
Tree pose is fun because it’s a balancing pose.
If you can balance, you can feel as majestic as a redwood. If you have a little trouble, it’s a reminder to not take yourself too seriously :)
From standing, shift your weight onto one foot.
Take the opposite foot and place the heel onto the standing leg’s ankle.
If you want to take it a step further, you could take your foot onto your calf or thigh.
It’s fun to grow branches and lift your arms.
Or, you can keep your hands in prayer position and focus your energy at your heart center, holding onto whatever sensation or insight you notice.
Take it with you: Tree pose is extremely fun to do outside! Take off your shoes and ground your foot into nature while you’re at it.
NO. 5 SEATED FORWARD FOLD/PASCHIMOTTANA
To turn your energy inward and find a sense of calm, it may be helpful to try a seated forward fold.
The point of this pose isn’t to reach your toes, but to bend from your hips while keeping your spine neutral. You could also try bending your knees as you reach toward your toes. There's no shame in that and it might actually be safer for your lower back if your hamstrings are tight.
As you lean forward, breathe into your lower back and find a sense of surrender.
"Summertime is always the best of what might be." -Charles Bowden
No matter how you end up spending your summer this year, I hope you get tons of sun (especially those of us in Pacific Northwest) and lots more fun with those you love. May you stay cool, hydrated, and centered.
Do you have any exciting summer plans? Do you find yourself getting restless or exhausted, or do you find it easy to keep up with the pace of summer? Comment below.