Five Postures for the Summer Season!
Summer is in full swing!
There is so much to appreciate about this season; spending time outdoors, being more adventurous, travel and doing yoga on the deck!
Yoga teaches us that we are not separate from our environment. Our constitution is powerfully influenced by the seasons as is our temperament and disposition. Certain seasons draw out different aspects of our being. Other environmental forces such as the people we hang out with or the food that we eat also influence us.
Sometimes things get out of balance, we experience disease or distress. One way that we can prevent such imbalance is to adapt our yoga practice to the season.
Summer asks us to be outside and spend time in the heat of the sun. All of this is generally very healthy though it is important to off set some of this tendency with counter measures; the same way you might do “counter poses” to bring balance in asana practice.
Whether we recognize it our not, the mind and body are already constantly reacting/responding to environmental pressures. Intentionally adapting our practice helps us to adjust to the season in a way that prevents imbalance and promotes our greater wellbeing.
Five Key Cooling Postures:
I encourage you to adopt these postures 3-4 times a week, perhaps even more if you are spending additional time in the heat. Remove any sense of urgency from the quality of your practice as you dedicate a minimum of 20 minutes to these postures in a room-temperature environment.
- Generally speaking, forward folds are a boon for cooling the body, particularly when combined with longer holds (2-3 minutes). Simple examples of these postures include paschimottanasana (seated forward fold) and upavistha-konasana (seated wide foot pose).
- Sometimes billed as the “mother of all asanas” I recommend making time for salamba sarvangasana (supported shoulderstand). Use the support of 2-3 folded blankets under the shoulders when going into the full posture to protect your neck or simple do ¾ shoulder stand in which the legs are not directly over the torso, rather the weight is shift back over the wrists and elbows.
- Balasana, child’s pose. This is a great pose in general for renewal and quieting the mind, particularly if we stay in it for 2-3 minutes. Tip! When placing the forehead on the ground see that this skin is dragged down towards the eyebrows as opposed to lifted up towards the hairline.
- Gentle backbends on stomach, such as shalabhasana . Because these postures require some additional effort, it is important to maintain relaxed awareness while practicing them.
According to ayurveda and yoga, the navel is regarded as the seat of the fire element in the body. Generally speaking, poses that put pressure on this region help to “disperse” excess heat from the body.
- Reclined twists. Who doesn’t love an extended twist at the backend of practice? Spend about a minute on each side to enhance the effect.
The more we practice yoga the more sensitive we become to outer influences and our inner world. We learn to create balance between these two powerful realms and live in a greater state of integration. An experienced teacher can give you further guidance about how to best integrate these postures and give additional suggestions. I encourage you to supplement your practice with these postures to cultivate greater harmony during the summer season.