You know the drill. It’s 8:00 AM and already 96°F, the sun is beating down mercilessly through your window, and you can’t remember a time before you woke up feeling like a pajama-clad puddle of perspiration…
Ah, yes, summer is here! And with it comes the best of times—dreamy sunsets, the smell of fresh-cut lawns, road trips to memorable locales—and the worst of times—like heat waves so abysmal they can make even the most enthusiastic Coppertone babies flee from the sight of the sun.
If you’re facing oppressive heat this summer, you may be tempted to lock yourself inside, crank the ceiling fan, and post up on your sofa with Netflix as your sole companion. Not so fast… While summer IS the ultimate time for relaxation, try not to forget that a world exists outside your living room— a world just as scorched, sweltering, and sticky as you!
So, without further ado, here are five excellent reasons to turn off those Friends reruns, hop off the couch, gather up some friends, and give yoga a try this summer. Whether you’re a newbie or a devoted yogi, there are plenty of opportunities to transform your body, mind, and spirit through this ancient discipline—even if your thermometer is arguing otherwise!
Stay out of the heat…
What better way to beat the heat than to slip into a yoga class at your local studio? Sure, you’ll be working up a sweat—yet, you’ll be doing it in the comfort of an air-conditioned room surrounded by your fellow yogi enthusiasts! Try out a Dancing Warrior Flow class to focus on your inner balance. This practice starts with setting an intention—like staying cool, calm, and collected during the hottest months of the year!—and progresses through gentle movements and stretching, finishing with a cooldown meant to calm the fire within.
Or lean into it!
When you can beat ‘em, join ‘em! Sometimes the best way to deal with the incessant heat is to simply lean in and learn to love it. Summer is a great time to squeeze some warmth into your practice. Drag your mat out into the great outdoors for an early morning warm-up tuned to the rising sun or get bold by taking your practice directly to a hot yoga studio. While it might be intimidating, hot yoga is a fantastic way to get your body adjusted to the heat. Just don’t forget to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Increase your flexibility
Speaking of the heat, did you know that warmer temperatures leave our limbs more agile? Practicing yoga during the summer can give you a much-desired flexibility boost, shifting stiff or achy muscles into limber tools for really digging deep into those trickiest asanas. If you’ve been struggling with a particular aspect of a pose, like sinking deeper into that crescent or finally making contact between your fingertips and toes during that forward bend, the warmer months are the time to get stretching! You’ll find that your naturally increased flexibility during this time will make a huge difference in hitting your personal milestones.
Support your summer activities
Practicing yoga can provide critical balance to your other fitness activities. Depending on where you live, summer may either be the time to force as many outdoor activities into your schedule as possible to take advantage of the unexpected sunshine (looking at you, Pacific Northwest!) OR it may be the time to retreat from the blistering triple-digit weather. For us southern Arizona-dwellers who fall into the latter category, we may have to kiss favorite outdoor sports—like kayaking, rock climbing, or hiking—goodbye for the season to avoid risk of heatstroke or serious injury. Thus, taking up a complementary activity like yoga serves as an effective means of staying in tip-top shape—both physically and mentally—for when cooler weather makes its return.
In fact, summer is the perfect time to deliberately switch up your routine! Commit to experimenting with something new. Yoga Nidra can be a fantastic experience for those looking to diverge from the fitness focus of contemporary classes and instead hone in on tranquility and guided affirmation. Invite your partner to join you for a couple’s yoga evening and test out some poses meant to promote deeper intimacy. Find a SWIHA-trained yoga teacher who will introduce hypnotherapy, sound healing, Hatha gong, or even transformational coaching into your practice. Heck, if you’re feeling particularly zany, even give some baby goats a chance to join you on the mat!
No matter what alternative practice you end up choosing, have fun, keep a good attitude, and give gratitude for your present circumstances in life— remember, it could always be hotter!