Summer Yoga Practice Inspirations

yoga on the beach
Photo by Rob Futrell

When stepping outside feels like stepping into a Hot Power Yoga class, at a constant temperature of 86 degrees or more, how do you find inspiration to keep up with your yoga practice?

Unless you spend the whole day in air conditioning, a hot and vigorous practice is probably not appropriate or comfortable in the summer. Even in an air conditioned studio, practices with a lot of heat that are very pitta stimulating may leave you feeling more irritable than blissful afterwards. If you have a regular studio or gym where you practice yoga, the summer is a great time to try that gentle, slow flow or Yin class you’ve always wondered about.

Practicing yoga at home is also a great idea. During summer, we tend to be on-the-go more often, and a home practice allows you to really hone in on exactly what you need from day to day. If you are more active in the summer months, you may find yourself sore from new or seldom practiced activities. Spending some quiet time on the mat in the cooler evening or early morning is a great way to sooth sore or tired muscles. This soreness resides in skeletal muscles, the striated muscles that are attached to bones. Exertion of these muscles causes them to contract, and they cannot stretch back out on their own. Yoga helps stretch these muscle fibers out again, bringing fresh oxygen and blood to the tissue, which can actually help you recover from soreness quicker.

If you don’t have a home practice, summer is a great time to begin. It can be as simple as rolling out your mat and standing with eyes closed – notice your breath, and just listen to your body. Invariably you will find that certain muscle groups are craving a good stretch. For more inspiration on where to start, read these tips for cooling summer practices.

Practicing outside is another great way to switch things up in the summer. If you haven’t heard of an outdoor summer yoga series at a park or community near you, a quick internet search will probably surprise you. These aren’t the only places where you can find non-studio yoga classes though. In my Beer City USA town, “bend and brew” yoga events at local breweries seem to be quite the rage this summer (though they do run all year round). For those wanting to try it out, the fee for these classes includes a beer tasting after the stretching is done. There has also been a movement of yogis practicing on surf or paddle boards, and while sky or ocean diving. If you are looking for more structure, or don’t find outdoor classes near you, a national nonprofit, Yoga Rocks the Park, offers classes in more than 20 cities or can help you organize one in your town. When practicing outside, use common sense to be safe. Practice in the shade when possible to avoid overheating and be sure to stay hydrated.

If you’re looking for health conscious vacation, there are yoga festivals happening literally every weekend. Finding one near you might be a challenge, but if you have the ability to do it, a yoga road trip could make a great summer get away.

What are your favorite ways to keep your yoga cool and inspired in the summer?