Oh summer how we love you, with your long, light days, your sunshine (well some of the time) and your promise of barbecues and beach time, floaty dresses and flip flops.
You’ve probably noticed that each season of the year makes you feel very differently and has a huge effect on your energy levels. In winter don’t be surprised if you pretty much just want to hibernate – it’s all about cosy nights in and comfort food. In Spring you’re more likely to feel ready for new beginnings, decluttering and making plans for the future.
And Summer? Well Summer is the most expansive and abundant time of year. Your energy levels are at their highest and you can feel your most active and energetic. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, where living in harmony with the seasons is believed to be key to health and happiness, Summer is seen as a time of growth and manifestation, the key emotion of the summer is joy and the organs associated with summer are the heart and small intestine. It’s a loving, joyful and fun time of year.
That all sounds pretty great right? Well yes, if you’re in balance it most certainly is, but all that summer energy can push us to do more than we should, leaving our minds busier than ever while our bodies feel run down and tired out. In this most yang (fiery, fast moving and active) of all seasons an imbalance of the summer’s fire energy can make you feel exhausted, agitated, lacking in joy and unable to sleep and releasing deep-seated stress, tension and tightness in the body. Try this 30 minute sequence to get you ready to radiate joy and have you shining your brightest along with the summer sun!
Summer Yin Yoga Sequence
As always in your yoga practice listen to your body and only do what feels good for you.
- Childs Pose with a Side Stretch – 3 minutes on each side
Kneel on the floor. Sit on your heels with your big toes touching and take your knees hip width apart or wider. Lower your upper body towards the floor keeping your hips heavy towards your heels. Walk your hands out in front of you as you fold forward. From this regular child’s pose walk both your arms over to the right as far as possible feeling the stretch through your left side body. Stack your left hand on top of your right for a deeper stretch.
- Sphinx Pose – 3 minutes
Lie on your front. Lift up on to your forearms with your elbows underneath your shoulders. Bring your palms together. Relax your legs and your shoulders, let your weight drop towards the floor. Breathe deeply as you hold this pose.
- Jen’s Favourite Shoulder Opener – 3 minutes on each side
Lie down on your front. Take your right arm straight out to the side along the floor in line with your shoulder and your palm facing down. Slowly start to roll on to your right side until you feel the stretch in your right shoulder. This may happen very quickly so don’t push yourself to go too far in this one. If your neck feels uncomfortable use a blanket underneath your head as a pillow. If your shoulder is very open you can bend your right knee and bring the sole of your left foot to the floor with your knee pointing skyward. Finally wrap your left arm behind your back. Hold for 3 minutes. Roll out of this pose very slowly resting on your front for a few moments before repeating on the other side.
- Seated Forward Fold – 5 minutes
Sit down with your legs straight out in front of you and your feet hip width apart. Slowly fold forward, hingeing from your hips. Let your back round and allow your head to drop towards your legs. Rest your arms on the floor alongside your legs.
- Supported Fish Pose – 4 minutes
Roll up a thick blanket, towel or extra yoga mat and lay it across your yoga mat. Lie down on your back with the roll of blanket underneath your upper back, running across the back of your shoulder blades so you feel a gentle lift in your chest. Stretch your arms up over head and bring your palms together. Try to touch your thumbs to the floor behind you. Either keep your knees bent with your feet on the floor or straighten out your legs if that feels comfortable on your back.
- Savasana – 5 minutes
Lie down on to your back with your legs outstretched. Position your feet at least hip width apart. Let your toes roll out. Take your arms out just a little way from your body. Turn your palms to face up. Close your eyes and rest in stillness for 5 minutes, or longer.
By Jennifer Austin
Jen is the founder of Shine Yoga and runs sun saluting, superfood feasting, hammock swinging, star gazing, ultimate yoga retreats in some of the most beautiful places on earth. Between retreats you’ll find her by the beach in Cornwall eating avocados, surfing, creating healthy vegetarian recipes and teaching unique yoga classes that are filled with as much joy, music and laughter as possible. Go and see her at shineyogaretreats.com
Jen’s created an amazing free Shine at Home guide for you so you can create your own mini yoga retreat experience at home. Click here to get 2 free online yoga classes, 4 healthy recipes, a guided meditation audio, a natural face mask, day planner and so much more!