25 Jul Yoga in the Summer
When it gets hot it can be easy to drop your yoga classes as you feel sticky and lethargic but here’s how to maintain your yoga practice in the summer…
As soon as the summer rolls around I notice a big decline in the number of students attending yoga classes. This is due to people being busy and going on holiday, but some people feel it’s just too hot to do yoga. Agreed, the thought of forward bending and twists are not the most appealing! However there are ways that you can still maintain a great yoga practice even when the weather is scorching!
I was inspired to write this post after a morning yoga practice in the garden. I flowed and moved with my body as it felt right to. Unlike the winter, I skipped all the fast-paced flows that had me feeling warm inside. Instead, I found myself in heart-openers, back bends and lots of poses that saluted the sun. The heat brought about a sense of opening and lifting that made me feel refreshed and energised. Something I desperately needed after a sleepless night with a hot 18 month old toddler!).
So here are my top tips for a yoga practice while the weather is hot and still….
1. Practice in the early morning or late evening
This might seem like an obvious one but it is likely to be cooler compared the middle of the day. There is nothing nicer than waking up and getting outside in the fresh morning air. You can feel the gentle warmth but there is still a cool breeze. If you chose to practice in the evening, the temperature is starting to drop and everything is starting to breath a sign of relief as the night sets in.
A morning practice is a great way to wake up the body and get energised for the day and an evening practice is a great time to unwind from the day and prepare for a good nights sleep.
2. Avoid fast paced flow and opt for strengthening holds
If you’re used to vinyasa’s and Chaturanga then try swapping your practice to a more strength based class where you hold the poses and really connect the breath to the body in these holds. You will be surprised how much effort it takes both mentally and physically to hold a pose for a longer period of time.
3. Enjoy back bends opposed to forward bends
In the winter we enjoy snuggling up in a forward bend to feel safe and protected however in the summer you can really make the most of using the heat to open up in those back bends. Poses such as Camel, Bow and Bridge Pose are all great backbends. However, remember to counter these poses with some forward bends after each one. Child’s pose is a great option.
4. Breath in heart openers and lifting towards to sun
In a similar way to back bends, heart openers really lift to chest to the sky give you a lovely opening feeling. If you are practising outside you can lift your face to the warmth and say hello to the sun! Poses such as Upward Facing Dog, Reverse Warrior, Crescent lunge and Warrior I with the hands clasped opening to the sky are all great.
5. Stop if you start to feel overheated
It’s really important to listen to your body and take time throughout your practice to check in with your body to ensure you are not feeling dizzy or overheated. If you are, then take time to rest either in a seated or lying position. Child’s pose is also a great option to ground yourself and slow down. If you do start to feel unwell stop your practice and have a big glass of cold water.
6. Stop for regular water breaks
Even during slow summer practices we may still find we are sweating in the heat. It is important to take regular water breaks to hydrate and keep energised. Make sure you keep a big water bottle with you and you stop at regular intervals for a drink.
7. Use the summer as a time of focus on alignment and fine tuning poses
As mentioned in my first point, the summer is a great time to swap fast flows for summer slows. You can use these couple of months to spend time working on alignment within poses and tweaking positions to see if you can bring yourself deeper into a pose. You can also spend a little more time playing around in poses such as arm balances or inversions to find a little more strength or confidence. Setting up great foundations for poses means that when you do return back to flowing sequences you will have great foundations!
I would love to hear about your experiences of summer yoga classes. Maybe you attend an outdoor yoga session or still love sweating it out in a hot yoga class. Let me know on instagram (@lo_yoga) or send me an email.
I will be teaching various classes over the summer in both Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds so be sure to check out my Instagram and Facebook page for more information. My Pregnancy Yoga classes in Newmarket will be continuing every Saturday at 11:30am with the exception of 3rd August and 17th August. I will also be at Soul Circus Festival teaching in the Kid’s Yoga tent!
Have a wonderful summer and keep yoga-ing!