With spring and summer come warmth, the promise of more time outside and, for some of us, the waning of our yoga practice. This summer has been a special one - sunshine for weeks on end, with the promise of more to come.
I understand. If it’s a hot day, you’re feeling too sluggish.
If it’s a nice day, you’d rather be outside.
For some, the school holidays have started, the kids are home and you’ve got no childcare. You’re going to be out of town a lot. The list goes on.
But here’s the thing: practicing yoga during the warmer months is a whole different animal. Like some sort of flexible relaxed animal (think cat lying supine in the sun). Your body is more open and your muscles juicier with the warm weather. And that peaceful, easy feeling of summer lends itself nicely to your yoga practice. You know it won’t let you down.
Still, all of those reasons for allowing the yoga practice to falter during the warmer months loom.
Everybody has their own reasons for coming to the mat.
In the beginning, you may have come to the yoga practice for the physical benefits. Many of us did. The studio was warm and it felt good to stretch, build muscle, get your heart going and sweat. Then when the warmer weather came, you traded in the practice for cycling, running, swimming or other outdoor activities.
But over time, the practice started to penetrate deeper and though you still love those outdoor activities, something’s missing.
It’s yoga. It’s the breath, the mindfulness and that certain peace of mind that come with the practice. And when you stop the practice, you notice that absence.
So what’s a parent/heat dodger/outdoor enthusiast/ traveler to do?
If you’re a parent, you know that summer brings a compromise to your freedom. The children are home and there are new challenges. (You know what we’re talking about.) So really, this is NOT the ideal time to drop your practice. If anything, you need it now more than ever.
Find a parent who practices around the same time you do, and watch each other’s children while taking class. For example, you watch the kids during the 5:15 PM, and the other parent watches the kids while you’re at the 6:45 PM. Take them to the library or a nearby park for a picnic. The kids get some time to run around and you get your time to centre.
It seems too hot to do any kind of movement.
During the warmer months, there’s this thing called morning.
Actually, it’s available during the winter too but largely avoided as winter’s version of morning is often unkind. In the summer though, the morning is wonderful.
The birds chirp, the air is clear, the sun is just waking up and it’s cooler. Sometimes SO MUCH cooler.
Having a regular morning yoga practice during the warmer months is great because it gets you up and stretched and ready to take advantage of all of the activities that come with the summer. A morning practice can also keep you from feeling depleted from the heat at the end of the day.
If you are an avowed night owl and the morning just doesn’t jive with your circadian rhythms, then consider a gentle class later in the evening when the sun is lower and you don’t require coffee to be human.