12 Jun 3 Tips for a Prosperous Summer Yoga Practice
International yoga day is right around the corner.
Narendra Modi, the Prime Minster of India, first formalized this holiday a few years ago. He wrote that yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and wellbeing.
On summer solstice, practitioners around the world will be coming together to celebrate what yoga means to them. Will you be ready? Here are three tips to improve your summer yoga:
Find a reason for the season.
Summer solstice, aka, the equinox, is regarded as the start of a new season. A chance to eliminate whatever is no longer serving you and make room for what will.
Yoga works similarly. It’s like spring cleaning. A chance to cleanse ourselves of feelings that we have processed, but no longer need. Ask anyone who’s ever practiced hot yoga before in the dead of summer. Once class is over, you have nothing left!
Are you going through a transition right now? It’s the perfect time to practice. Sweat out the old habits you’re trying to let go of, literally create space in your body, and welcome the new to enter. Mark the new season by getting on your mat.
Trust each of your movements.
When days are long, we must accept that yoga is a highly patient practice. You can’t win the whole world on the first day. Some poses take years to even try, much less master. All you can do is make progress, inch by inch, posture by posture, trusting that each movement is gradually moving your mind and body toward some kind of enlightenment.
Fortunately, the patience you display on the yoga mat also makes a powerful statement that you are not judging others or yourself too harshly. I remember a teacher once telling us during an insanely humid summer class: Listen guys, this yoga is so hot, you won’t have time to lose your cool.
We weren’t sure if that was a riddle or another meaningless platitude, but either way, the teacher’s words made everyone in the class smile. It felt like she had created a spaciousness in the room by acknowledging everybody’s frustration. This summer, if your patience is hanging at the other end of a very thin thread, that’s not an insignificant accomplishment. Let your yoga deepen your patience.
Keep calm and sweat on.
When the outside world feels like a hot yoga studio, the last thing we want to do is hit the mat and do our postures. But speaking as a man who sweats like a construction worker during even the most mundane activities, summer hot yoga is not as brutal as it sounds. In fact, the upside of practicing in warmer months is, the heat of the world starts to bother you less.
Whether it’s artificial or natural, regular hot yoga practice trains you to become less bothered by temperature fluctuations as other people. And even if you do sweat though multiple layers of clothing while commuting to work, it’s not nearly as sticky and messy as what happens when you’re on the mat.
What’s more, hot yoga arms you with proper coping tools when the temperature gets too unbearable. Thanks to my practice, vacations in hot climates, steam rooms and other humid environments are easy to handle. Because I know how to breathe, how to sit and how to relax through the heat. That’s what keeps me coming back to the mat.
See you on the mat!
Scott Ginsberg is the author of 35 books, a TEDx speaker, the world record holder of wearing nametags, and the author of the forthcoming book, A Year in Hot Yoga: Daily Meditations for On and Off the Mat. Scott is a Community Leader at Yoga Tribe Brooklyn, where he is a daily practitioner and the Managing Editor of their award winning blog. Learn more at www.nametagscott.com