Enjoy summer’s abundance with a yogic mind.
When we think of yoga, we usually associate it with practicing on the mat and asanas. While this is an integral aspect of yoga practice, there are many other ways to incorporate different elements of yoga practice, which are often neglected or due to lack of supportive opportunity.
Thanks to the summer season, there are many other ways to embrace the sunshine, warmth, fun and all that we look for or enjoy as results of our yoga practice.
Here are some ideas to bring your yoga practice to a different level of practice and awareness, while embracing the hazy days of summer.
1. Take your yoga practice outside.
Fresh air has more oxygen. Listen to the trees swaying, birds chirping, people walking or running from near distance; more sensory engagement energizes our bodies to come alive more easily. Getting Vitamin D from the sun is essential for our health. Take extra consideration of applying sufficient sunscreen and hydrating properly in the heat of summer and being outdoors.
2. Eat outside.
By the patio, balcony, front porch or backyard. The best part, day or night—both ways work. Feel the warm air on your skin as you engage your appetite—a mindful reminder that summer is indeed here, inviting you to enjoy delicious foods and fun drinks that celebrate the warm season. Clean, refreshing, cooling, grilled, or any flavor reminds you of what summer is about and what it means to you. Create a simple menu or nourish yourself with seasonal foods that serve your taste buds.
3. Take longer walks in nature.
Greenscapes raises serotonin levels which help with depressions and increases feelings of well-being. Such walks can also be a form of moving meditations—in hiking nature’s bounty, strolling around your neighborhoods, in a local park or kids’ playground, wherever you find serenity outside of your home.
Even if you live far away from nature’s trails or local rivers, connecting with nature in urban landscape offers redefined appreciation of nature’s presence and connection. With mother nature’s guidance, connect yourself to your surroundings that are full of presence and life.
4. Lay on the grass and look up at the sky.
This may not be something you’ve consciously done for a while. Observe your current state of mind, draw in mindfulness, gratitude and feelings of expansion in your heart to be as wide as the sky, and reminding that our thoughts are like the constant moving clouds that simply come and go. This can train us to focus on practicing selflessness and dealing with emotions that are difficult to let go.
5. Visit a Farmers’ Market.
Summer produce and fruits are picked at their peak, and what could be better sourcing them from your closest local farmers and growers? This can also be a great time to get to know and support your local farmers community and organizations that may interest you to become more involved in. Talk to your neighbors and even say “hello” to your favorite animals. It’s a place of ecological and human relationships.
6. Try a new activity.
Although as yogis we can be dedicated to our practice, planning to do something new this summer allows ourself to be open to new learning patterns, reset our brain’s ability to receive information, adopt to different physical movements which may complement your yoga practice. Have fun with it! The main goal is to stay present with nature of the physical world and connect that to your inner self. Like in yoga practice, we learn to observe changes in ourselves as we evolve.
Put yourself in unfamiliar surroundings and mindset, you may be surprised by the new opportunity to practice yoga and move your body in a very different level.
7. Show acts of random kindness.
Take your children to visit an animal home shelter, volunteer at a local food bank or pantry, support your local schools or community causes, help with elderly or disabled fostering social interactions with physical activities. Some of the volunteering activities become more frequently available and accessible during summer months as parents can involve their kids to participate outdoors activities, share with them what acts of kindness look and feel like.
Create projects in your local yoga studios to foster closer connections among everyone in the community.
Whatever you do, do it from your heart—sometimes, it helps to remember that there is good in this world.
Josie Huang is an evolving yogini and yoga teacher. Outside of yoga, she is a curious foodie; a knowledge-thirsty Registered Dietitian to-be; an experimental fitness healthnut who loves clean and delicious food. She is a fledgling who is following her life long passions, combining her love for health, yoga, food and nutrition. As she is exploring different loves in life, she remains dedicated to staying open to all phases of her journey. When she is not practicing yoga, creating delicious food or studying, you can find her reading a good book, talking about health, yoga, food and nutrition to anyone who would listen to her or just want to try her cooking. You can find her via her website.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise
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