For many, summer is the time for travel, leisure and spending more time outdoors. Do you feel the surge of life around you? The sun’s bright light and heating energy tend to wake up life on earth. This seasonal shift is a great time to pause and give thanks for existence! Feel the warm light sink into your skin and notice the wind blowing through your hair; summer is here, let’s celebrate!
As we increase activities for summer fun, our yoga practice in the studio and at home may decrease. Patanjali’s first sutra (sutra 1.1), explains that yoga is to “yolk” the mind and body. What this means to me is that at any given time, I have the opportunity to become centered and feel balanced in my mind and body. Yoga is the connection of our mind, body, and soul and this concept can absolutely pertain to activities outside during summer.
Take a moment to observe the next 3 offerings. Try them, get some ideas and watch how including an outdoor practice can supplement your daily summer activities!
“May I always cherish the dance that is within my heart!” – Unknown
3 ways to take your yoga outside for summer
= 1) Outdoor Sun Salutations – Surya Namaskar means Salute to the Sun! Traditionally sun salutes are a series of postures linked together to unite the body, mind, and spirit in celebration of our life on this planet. You can choose 2-3 postures or you can practice the whole sequence. Start slow and work your way up. When you practice sun salutes, you are able to connect to your inner vitality. You can detect the fire within as heat builds and the breath moves throughout. If you are outside, you have the sun shining above you and the earth supporting you from below. Notice the unity that is happening between your inner being and outer self. If it is your first time practicing in public, allow yourself the space to feel a little silly. Recognize the discomfort and lean into it with grace. After practice, take a few moments to reflect on the accomplishment and honor your existence and your light on this planet. We all share a home here and you belong. Finish your practice by kissing the back of your hands a couple of times to show yourself some deep gratitude and love.
= 2) Five senses orientation meditation – This meditation is a short and effective way to center yourself. Rejoice in the beauty around you by appreciating it through your senses. To begin, find somewhere to sit comfortably for a few moments. Use your five sense to observe your surroundings. Notice the way the air feels on your skin. Is there a breeze? Are there any smells in the air like fresh pine, the sea salty beach or newly cut grass? Keep your eyes open to observe the textures and shape of the clouds as they float by or you can close your eyes and notice the way the light bounces off of the inside of your eyelids. What shape does the light make? Can you taste anything specifically unique to where you are? Have a mindful moment to yourself by eating a fresh orange and really tasting the qualities of the fruit. Practicing the five senses orientation meditation is an effective way to find peace as a whole being. Our body and mind start working together as one unit that moves us towards an awakening of our truest selves.
= 3) Earthing – Everything is energy! Our electrical devices like smartphones, computers, and radios are sending out electrical energetic waves at all times. The cells in our body are sending electrical signals to each other. Our beautiful blue planet has its own special energy too; earth energy. Research over the years has shown that connecting to the energy of the earth grounds the energy of all things on the planet. For us, grounding often results in a reduction of pain, stress, inflammation, and scattered mental patterns. The Deepak Chopra website says “The Earth is like a gigantic battery that contains a natural, subtle electric charge—a special kind of energy present in the ground. For safety and stability, most everything in the electrical world is connected to it, whether it is an electric power plant or your refrigerator. That’s what the term “grounded” means.” Our bodies are energetic too and therefore need grounding for safety, stability and, balance. To ground, simply take your shoes off and stand on the earth! Put your feet in the sand, stand barefoot in a few inches of water or walk in the grass. If you don’t have the ability to go outside, spend some time with indoor plants, touching their leaves and potting them with fresh, warm soil. Breathe deep and take time to reflect on this practice over the course of a few days or weeks to notice any shifts!
“Your body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.” – Buddha