By Samantha Gamboa, Yoga Instructor at Namaste On Williams
Ah, summer. What’s not to love? It’s that magical time of year when the Pacific Northwest really shines. I love the rise in energy that happens in summer as people come out of hibernation to celebrate the long days & warm sunshine; and who can blame us?
There is so much to do! Vacations, weekend getaways, gardening, walking, running, biking, hiking, paddle boarding, kayaking, camping - the list goes on and on!
When it comes to yoga, it’s safe to say we all love a good studio class, but when our schedule gets packed, it can be hard to find the time to make it to class consistently. The good news is, you don’t have to sacrifice your yoga practice in the summer.
This is a perfect time to establish (or reconnect) to a home practice. Developing a home practice can be daunting for many students, but it doesn’t have to be. Allow me to shed some light!
HERE ARE 7 SIMPLE TIPS TO HELP YOU STAY INSPIRED DURING THE BUSY SUMMER MONTHS:
Choose a time, and be flexible with it – It’s important to find a time in the day when you can roll out your mat and get your yoga on. For some, it’s first thing in the morning; for others, it’s in the evening. It doesn’t matter when. If you commit to a time, you’re more likely to make it onto your mat consistently. With that said, summer schedules can be crazy! So, if you usually practice in the morning, but can’t, just try to find some time during the day to do it. Even a few gentle twists and forward folds before bed counts!
Keep it short & sweet - Consistency is much more important than duration when it comes to maintaining your practice. If you only have 10-15 minutes each day, great! Only have 30 minutes every other day, awesome! One of my favorite teachers, Jason Crandall has a great metaphor for this: “Is it better to brush your teeth for a few minutes each day? Or is it better to go to a dentist once a week for 90 minutes?” Plenty of value can be found in a short practice!
Focus on what you need most – The beauty of a home practice is that you can tailor it to exactly what your body needs most each day. I recommend taking a few moments before you get started to focus on some deep breaths to hone in on what your energy level is like, and how your body is feeling. From there, based on what you observe, decide how you need to move to best take care of yourself. Some days your body may want a quick, invigorating practice and some days it may need a slower, gentler practice.
Keep it simple – Don’t feel as though you need to do a bunch of crazy arm balances and backbends to have an effective home practice. You can start with some cat-cows, a couple of sun salutations to warm up, and then pick 3 to 5 poses you are familiar with and enjoy. Do what feels good on your body and focus on moving intentionally with your breath. That’s it!
Take it outside – We often think of yoga as an indoor activity, but it’s not limited to just that! Grab your mat (and maybe a friend) and head out to your backyard, deck, or a park to practice. Being outside and connecting with nature at the same time is pure magic.
Find stillness – Us yogis can get pretty wrapped up in the physical (asana) practice that it’s easy to forget yoga is truly about connecting to our inner being. When you are short on time, one of the best and most impactful ways to reground and reconnect yourself is to meditate. Simply focusing on your breath for a few minutes in stillness has amazing benefits: it helps to regulate the nervous system, reduce stress, clear the mind, and relax the body.
Take a private lesson – If you’re still unsure about how to build an effective home practice or just need a little extra inspiration, one great way to get support is to take a private yoga lesson. A yoga teacher can help you grow and evolve your practice over time.
I hope this has given you new inspiration, even if it was a simple reminder to find time to step on your mat. I invite you to take a class with me! You can catch my classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 a.m., or Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m at Namaste on Williams - Check out the schedule to sign up!