Summer is still here! When we think about summer we think about sun, joy, relaxation, and the heat. When designing and thinking about this flow, I wondered how I could put all of those together to embody the feeling of summer. Today’s yoga is a special flow centered on heat.
First off, if you are eager to practice…check out my yoga here!
This practice is special to me for a few reasons. The oddities in this flow is what helped me personally really enjoy. Besides that, it’s a seasonal flow which to me have the ability to draw our attention to the world around us. These sorts of practices bring revelations. They have a natural freedom other flows might not.
Onto other reasons this flow is a little different.
For one, I didn’t plan it. Summer is all about freedom, warmth and flexibility. Everything is alive, moving and sounding off to show the world that it is here. By sitting down to write out a flow, I felt like I was doing it a disservice. I really wanted it to be organic, natural.
Two, I didn’t go necessarily by mandatory steps like sun salutations. First this, then this, then this. Next round add this. Next round add this. Instead of this more traditional format, I let my body flow. I played around.
This concept of play in yoga is one that seems to get lost quite easily. We get hung up on moving from one pose to another. We get hung up on the perfect form or what we think we ought to be doing. By doing this, we miss out on a lot of things. We don’t get to hear what our body is saying to us. We don’t get to feel the natural progression and blending of poses.
When we have an opportunity like at-home yoga practices, we need to embrace it. Explore! Play! Have fun! Yes, it’s exercise. Yes, there are things we focus on. But it is okay to abandon the rigidity, the form, robotic energy we bring to focus on playing. Kids play around all the time but adults forget how. Use your time on the mat as a way to tap into that inner child that likes to splash in the water, run through the grass, and roll around outside in the summer until they’re red in the face with laughter.
What’s so wrong with having fun anyway? What’s wrong with splashing around? What’s so wrong about laughing on your mat, playing around in downdog? What’s wrong about dancing for a minute in tadasana? Can’t we enjoy ourselves?
For today’s practice, I wanted to embody that. Of course, I have a little bit more of an obligation to represent the flow in a way people can understand but rest assured, I did this practice again with my husband and we were both laughing and playing around. We had fun. And you should too! It’s summertime after all and isn’t that what summer seems to be all about?
This is a long point, but we are too rigid in our practice too often. Yoga is about finding space within ourselves to open up and to change. It’s a practice of body and mind. Contrary to what society thinks, training the mind doesn’t have to be all discipline. In fact, a lot of us have too much discipline.
We’ve lost the ability to have fun.
Whether this is because of a busy schedule, stress, fatigue, old habits, or any combination of the above, we lose the ability to have fun. We get embarrassed, self-conscious. We refuse to goof off even if we are by ourselves.
So, if you focus on thing this practice, focus on lightening up and having fun. You don’t have to take yourself seriously to be a yogi.
All right, now probably the most obvious point of why I love this practice. It cultivates heat!
That’s right, this yoga makes you sweat. At least, it made me sweat. By moving from one thing to another quickly without pause and by not following a super traditional format, I made this a toughie. It’s not super long and there’s a reason for that. Practice outside!
It’s summer! Don’t bother practicing yoga inside. Yoga opens the senses, brings the focus to the body and the sensations we feel. By going outside to practice, we are opening a million doors to a million different experiences we can feel.
Maybe it’s cloudy and we get to look up at the clouds marching overhead while in a nice twist. Maybe it’s sunny and we feel the heat on our backs while we’re in plank. Maybe there’s a breeze and we praise the heavens for it as we hold a pose longer than we are used to. Maybe its hot, hot, hot and we feel our body shake, sweat, and beg for us to stop. We feel our willpower.
These are just a few things you encounter during an outdoor practice.
It doesn’t have to be a fancy 5-star park or a beautiful ocean beach. It can be your driveway. Your lawn. Your balcony. Your patio! Whatever space you have available to you, use! Go outside, experience the world around you. And I mean that. Experience the world around you. Don’t just plop yourself in it and expect to see it. Most times we have to be the ones to make the first move and open our eyes. Then the beauty comes.
Hopefully, it’s nice and toasty where you are. By going outside you up the ante. It’s harder, it’s easier to quit or drop out on a pose. Keep going! That’s how you’ll get stronger. Relish the struggle. Enjoy the journey.
Most of all, just enjoy the practice. Remember that we restrict ourselves too much. We keep our bodies and minds locked in tiny cages. Open the cage for a bit, there’s no monster inside. Play around! Laugh a bit, even if someone’s watching. This is your practice, treat it like it. Be happy. Even better, if you’re practicing outside be happy in your struggle.
Learn to love it. Learn to play. Learn to live.