6 approaches to motivate your summer yoga practice
When the summer comes around it’s all too easy to let go of good habits and best intentions. Maybe it’s too warm or children are out of school and needing attention. Perhaps you’re travelling or spending more time outdoors and the usual routine is temporarily abandoned. But choosing to spend some time on the yoga mat during this period means you’ll continue to reap the benefits of a more balanced body and mind and it won’t be a struggle restarting in the autumn. So what will inspire you to keep it going during the holiday months?
1. Be consistent
When it comes to yoga and meditation practices, consistency is the important thing, so rather than having a complete break for 6 or so weeks, try doing a small amount regularly. Recognising that seasonal change is the natural way of things we can modify without feeling bad about it. Find a time of day that fits into your summer schedule and try not to feel that it’s not worth it just because it’s not a whole class or your usual timeframe. Small steps count and consistency is the key thing to staying motivated and experiencing the benefits.
2. Be inspired by your summer activities
Are you spending more time outdoors? Going for long walks or cycle rides over summer? If I’ve been spending time out on active pursuits I adapt my yoga practice so that it’s something that’s a better fit with what I’m doing. So after lots of cycling, incorporating long hold stretches for hips and quads and poses that open the chest all work well. Following a run or hike, hip and hamstring stretches come as a welcome relief from achy limbs.
3. Tune in to what your body needs
As hinted above, choose what is right for your body right now. So if hot weather is leaving you feeling tired and lethargic it’s ok to skip the power poses and rejuvenate in some restorative positions instead. If things have become more hectic than usual, take the opportunity to fit in a class so as to give yourself some well-deserved time to recharge your batteries. The people you’re spending time with may well be thankful!
4. Take your mat outside
The long hours of summer daylight give us the freedom to experiment with outdoor yoga. The early morning and pre-dusk are good times of day to take your mat outside. Tuning in to the sounds of nature, feeling the breeze on the skin, encountering a different surface beneath our feet can make it all feel a little different and quite an invigorating experience. Of course, hay fever may need to be endured …and ants ignored! Also, as grass usually is a softer surface, if you want to experiment with balancing, it can be a better place to practice falling out!
5. Minimise distractions
Set the intention to be there fully and focused on the task at hand. Presence is powerful and a simple practice of following your breath may be just what you need to balance the emotions. Developing your capacity to be more fully in the moment means that you won’t get to the end of the summer feeling that it somehow passed you by and you missed most of it in a whirl of activity.
6. Remind yourself why you do it
It is easy to forget the reasons that led you here. Perhaps it was for more suppleness or strength in the body, or to bring more calm to the mind? Even when things seem ok, it’s not the time to stop. Persisting with these practices increases our resilience preparing us for whatever unknowns are ahead. Our wellbeing is a continuous work in progress but one that can be embraced and enjoyed.