Summer is well and truly upon us, and what better time to sink into some energising and empowering asanas to help us feel our best?! Have a look at our top 5 summer poses that can aid digestion, boost strength and increase flexibility, all whilst providing us with heaps of energy.
A twisted lunge will massage your internal organs, keep your spine healthy, your legs strong, and strengthen your lower back.
To do: Standing at the back of your mat in tadasana, take a large step forward with your right leg into a high lunge. Bring your palms together at your heart and start to twist towards your right, hooking your left elbow on the outer edge of your right knee. Repeat on the other side.
Tips: Ensure that your right knee is stacked above your right ankle and that your left leg is straight. Try to use your core as much as possible for this twist, only ‘hooking’ your elbow against your knee for support – if you’re unable to twist this far just by using your core, only twist as far as you comfortably can.
The perfect pose to encourage you to open your heart out towards the world and be ready to shine. Camel is also a lovely pose for spinal extension and can reverse a little of the tension created by a bad posture or being seated for too long.
To do: Kneel with your shins on the floor but thighs and torso in a straight line towards the sky. Place your hands as though you are sliding them into your ‘back pockets’ and slowly start to lean backwards. If you are able, slowly reach one hand at a time to grip the ankle, and let your head hang, for a more intense backbend.
Tip: If your ankles are just a little too far away, try curling your toes under your feet to bring them higher. Alternatively you could place a block on either side of your feet to hold on to – just make sure that you’re stable!
This stretch will counteract a winters worth of hunching and leave you feeling at least 5 inches taller with more room to breathe.
To do: Sit comfortably and reach your right arm overhead, bend at the elbow and place your palm at the base of neck between your shoulder blades. With your left arm, reach around your back and grasp your right hand with your left. Push your elbows and shoulders backwards, and breathe.
Tip: If you are unable to touch your hands together you could use a small towel or band and hold onto either end to extend the space. Another option is to keep your right hand in the same place, and reach your left arm overhead to hold onto your right elbow instead.
The world of pranayama is definitely one that you’ll want to explore when you just need 5 minutes of peace to relax and gather your thoughts away from the hustle and bustle of the summer; a great accessible tool to have when you’re looking to find some clarity and de-stress.
To do: There are multiple methods of intentional breathing (or pranayama), but an easy one to master that will help you to focus is alternate nostril breathing.
• Place your peace fingers together and tuck them in towards your palm, or press them into the space between your eyebrows, closing your eye
• Take a big inhale through both nostrils, then cover your right nostril with your thumb to exhale through your left nostril
• Keep fingers in place and inhale through the left nostril
• Block the left nostril with your ring finger and exhale through the right nostril
• Keep fingers in place and inhale through the right nostril
• Block the right nostril with your thumb and exhale through the left nostril
• Repeat as many times as necessary to find your sense of calm
Tip: Once you’ve mastered the pattern, try to focus only on your breath and nothing else to reach a meditative state.
Warrior II is great for building strength, improving your mindset, and learning control. It will leave you feeling…well…like a warrior!
To do: From tadasana, take a step backwards with your left foot. Keep the right foot facing forwards, but turn the left out to a 45 degree angle – with the middle of your left foot keeping in line with your right. Turn your body to face the side and slowly bend the front knee (keeping the back leg straight), spreading your arms to either side and reaching for opposite sides of the room. Look forwards over your right hand, and feel strong!
Tip: Adjust the distance of your feet depending on how low you can sink into warrior II and where this leaves your knee, you’ll want to keep your front knee stacked above your ankle.Summer is the perfect time to get outside and practise yoga, use these months to really get to know your practice and your body!