As we now head towards the height of summer here in the southern hemisphere, for most of us, the lazy relaxed days are over and it is back to the busy working life.
However this is no reason to abandon our self-care and exercise!
Just be sure that your activities are appropriate to the season! A heatwave is not the time to embark on a major fitness project or even the time to push your body to achieve a more advanced posture.
Learn to listen to the body and hear the difference between feeling lazy and realising it is too busy coping with the heat to go any further into that backbend. Remember, true yoga honours where the body is at and works with it, not pushing beyond its limits.
Yoga is timeless and what is not achieved in this life, can be done in a future life. Work to your best, accurate level, and the rest will come.
If you push the body beyond its limits, you may have short term success, but there will be long term damage, which will cause greater limitations later, maybe even making it impossible for you to move at all.
Having said that, many people find that they are more flexible in warm weather! If that is you, then now is the time to work just that little bit harder on some of the postures you find difficult in the cooler weather.
Here are some suggested variations for the ‘summer flexibles’!
Instead of Yoga Mudra, try Mudra for Humility, if you are familiar with it. This requires more flexibility in the knees, strength in the back, and spinal consciousness to keep the balance, strength, and tail to the heels in the forward bend. It is a lovely way to give thanks for the bounty of summer and for the incredible sequence of seasons we rely on so much, for all that we have.
Try it and experience its powerful effect for yourself.
If you are really comfortable and accurate with Ustrasana, the Camel, maybe it is time to challenge yourself with taking the hands further up the ankles towards the knees. This tightens the posture somewhat, increasing the backbend and frontal stretch. Please make sure you have warmed up properly (yes, even in Summer!) and have fully prepared your body with spinal stretches, iliopsoas stretches and chest expansion work.
It is also good to work with someone who can check the accuracy and alignment of your body in the posture, as it is of no benefit to practise a fault!
Gita Yoga is all about working with the body to encourage it to be the best it can be, not about forcing it into some glossy magazine look alike!
Remember the whole purpose of yoga is to help you become a better you – to reach your full potential - physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually - in order to make our contribution to World evolution, to making the world a better place.
If our practice of yoga causes harm to our self or others, then it is not yoga, but ego! (Remember, it takes a minimum of three people to look after one seriously ill person – energy that could be used to help evolution)