As the seasons shift, our bodies cycle through an organic ebb and flow of change that serves to harmonize and create balance within us.
Ayurveda and Yoga Practices for Summer
For many of us Summer means we have more time and energy for our yoga practice and for some - that we're ready to take a complete break from yoga for a few months and instead focus on spending more time outdoors with family and friends. I believe there is space for both.
In Ayurveda, Summer is a pitta season, which means that the 2 main elements governing this season are fire and water. This also means that potentially there is a risk of overdoing our practice and becoming more competitive as the fire element dominates, so instead of pushing yourself too far, see if you can emphasise a practice that is moderately activating or even calming, adding more rest when needed and making sure you are not overheated. And the best time of the day for your Summer practice is when it's not too hot - like mornings or evenings instead of midday.
When it comes to poses, emphasise twists and forward bends, and less challenging vinyasas and arm balances. See if you can bring more lightness, play and fun to your practice instead of having a rigid goal in mind when you get on your mat.
And when the weather is hot, remember to cool off - you can use some aloe vera juice internally for that, and try abhyanga (self oiling) with coconut oil which has a cooling effect on both body and mind. You can get detailed abhyanga instructions in an e-book I have created for home retreating - just find your first email from me with the e-book inside.
And how to keep your practice alive when the weather is calling your outdoors?
The beauty of yoga is that you can take your practice with you anywhere you go. You don't even have to bring your yoga mat with you, practicing in the sand or on the grass is both a little messy and fun, and nature is the best yoga mat, just keep your skin protected from sunburn.
Even if your practices in Summer are shorter than usual, it's really beneficial to keep up smaller routines on a regular basis instead of one long class or workshop a week that is likely to leave you feeling more sore than open if this is the only thing you commit to. So, if you are too busy, try 10-30 minutes of yoga in the morning and same before you go to bed. If you need some guidance when you practice, you can use the DVD I have created with shorter practices (25 minutes each) or enjoy a few free videos and guided meditations I have uploaded on youtube.
And even better, Summer is a perfect time to join a yoga retreat to supercharge your practice and deepen your self-care dedication in a group of likeminded people in beautiful places on Earth. This Summer I'm leading 4 yoga retreats - Hands On Retreat in the Italian Alps (led by me and Maria who some of you already know from past retreats, and featuring a lot of hands on assists and individual guidance), Swiss Alps Retreat, Norwegian Fjords Yoga + Adventure Retreat as well as luxury retreat in the Spanish Pyrenees. I have already planned programmes that will both stimulate you with new offerings as well as keep your practice Ayurvedically balanced and playful.
If you find yourself really interested in using Ayurveda to balance and enrich your life, myself and an incredible Australian teacher (who also happens to be one of my main Ayurveda teachers) Kimmana Nichols are organising an intensive 7-day 50-hour training in Bali for just a small small group of lucky participants who get to work with an amazing teacher that Kimmana is. Here is a bit more information about the programme and what you can learn with us in November.
Let me know if these recommendations are helpful and whether you would be interested in having a more comprehensive Ayurvedic Guide to Summer delivered to your inbox!