September 7, 2016

The summer is upon us, and you may be considering whether it makes sense to turn the heat up even more by walking into Maya Yoga. You may be asking yourself if you have the energy for it; others may be giving you that funny, “Have you lost your mind?” look….

But, as I have learned, stepping up your practice during the summer months can actually reap amazing rewards and benefits that aren’t available in winter. Most Ashtanga yoga devotees agree that far from being too hot to handle in the summer months, Ashtanga during the summertime offers specific benefits and positive results that can give you a deeper edge on your practice and complement your practice through the cooler months. Here is why you want to keep practicing in the summer.

  1. Acclimate. Ashtanga Yoga, practiced in 82°F heat and high humidity, can help you acclimate to the summer heat by “teaching” your body to cool itself more efficiently through sweat. It also arms you with coping tools (focus, concentration and deep breathing) to help you better manage summertime temperatures.It works the other way around, too. When the practice room feels cooler than the great outdoors, practicing becomes a cakewalk!
  1. Growth. Keeping up your practice is the key to maintaining all the headway you made during the winter. Instead of losing movement, gain it! Your muscles, joints and ligaments will already be nice and warm when you enter the studio, so you will likely find you are more flexible and can go deeper into the poses during the summer. Take advantage of the summer months to increase your joint flexibility, core strength and spinal mobility and make gains in your practice.
  1. Hydrate. Ashtanga Yoga encourages you to stay well hydrated by keeping you on top of your water intake, replenishing your electrolytes regularly. During the summer months this can aid you outside of Maya as well.
  1. Diet. When you regularly practice you are attracted to a lighter and healthier diet. Some Ashtanga poses are designed to give the intestines an internal massage in order to strengthen them and allow them to release their contents more efficiently. This can help during the summer relieving you from that “full and heavy” feeling.
  1. Energize. The summer heat can make you feel stifled and sluggish, almost lethargic. Ashtanga Yoga is a great way to Energize and Detoxify by increasing your oxygen intake, balancing the various psycho-somatic systems of the body, sweating and burning a great plethora of calories, giving the rest of your day a boost.
  1. Meditate. What better way to spend time focusing on what makes you feel good, healthy and wellbeing aspects of life? Allowing plenty of “me” moments with daily Ashtanga Yoga sessions will help you deal with the stressful “everything else” factors of life. By focusing solely on you, (in a meditative way) you will benefit from the strengths and virtues only a clear mind possesses.
  1. Prevent. Planning on swimming, hiking, sailing, biking, jogging, beach volleyball-ing and doing any number of other fun summertime sports? Ashtanga Yoga will enhance your athletic abilities. Really enjoy all the fun and drastically reduce all the insidious muscle-skeletal and joint injuries such activities may bring forth. (Don’t be an unprepared weekend warrior.)
  1. Indulge. If you work in a profession where your summer schedule is lighter or more flexible, take advantage of the fact that you have some extra time to spend on yourself and your health. Your body and mind will thank you!
  1. Confidence: You’ll look great and feel more comfortable and confident all summer long!
  1. Connect. See and spend time with everyone at Maya Yoga.

Exercise scientists are just discovering the benefits that you may already be experiencing. Here is one study that explores how “Exercising in the Heat May Improve Athletic Performance in Cool and Hot Conditions.”