Summer is a time of increased activity, both in nature and in our lives. For what is essentially half of the year, those of us in the Midwest live in conditions cold enough to keep us cooped up inside. Everything is covered in ice and snow, and many of us only go outside when we’re running from our heated house to our heated car. When summer finally arrives, people enjoy it in a frenzy, trying to take advantage of every moment of warm weather.
During the warmer months, people have barbeques, graduation parties, weddings, 4th of July celebrations, festivals, and any other planned excuse to enjoy being outdoors. For many people, summer means a calendar full of events that continuously take us out of our routine. Although it’s important to take full advantage of summer and all the wonderful things that come with it, it’s equally important to make sure we’re still taking time for ourselves and our wellbeing. It’s easy to fall out of our self-care routine when there are schedule changes and more events going on that we are a part of.
Keeping up with whatever it is that keeps us healthy during busy times helps us be more present for those experiences, and therefore enjoy and appreciate them more. Those of us who incorporate yoga into our routine are presented with the challenge of figuring out where, when, and how to take our practice with us when summer takes us out of routine. In this post, we’ll cover different ways for how you can stay dedicated to your summer yoga practice while still making time for fun in the sun.
Tips for Keeping up With Your Summer Yoga Practice
The best way to keep a consistent summer yoga practice is to plan ahead. Summer schedules often look quite a bit different than they do the rest of the year, especially if you have kids in school or have a summer-specific obligation. Get a calendar and write out all your events, responsibilities, etc. to get a big picture perspective of your availability. Planning ahead will help you maintain balance between your self-care and summer activities.
If your current yoga schedule needs to change, figure out a consistent time, on the same day/s and time/s every week if possible, and try to stick to it. It might look different than your normal routine, and that’s okay. The key is to see what your summer yoga practice looks like and carve out time for it (and/or whatever your self-care practice is) so you are set up for success.
If consistency isn’t possible, bring your yoga gear with you when you go off on your summer activities and grab whatever time you can get to practice. Even if the amount of time you’re able to dedicate to it is much less than usual, it is still incredibly beneficial. An instructor once told me that it’s better to practice 15 minutes a day multiple days a week than to practice for an hour once a week. This philosophy motivates me when I’m thinking of skipping my practice for the day because I only have a short amount of time to dedicate to it.
Ways to stay accountable to your summer yoga practice:
- Get a yoga buddy, someone to go to classes with you consistently.
- Invest in a travel yoga mat for summer trips.
- Plan ahead and set aside time to practice during situations you might normally skip it.
- Take an outdoor class or do your individual practice somewhere outside.
- Adjust your yoga schedule; even if you can’t take your regular classes, find at least one you can take consistently or a consistent time to practice on your own.
Take Your Summer Yoga Practice Outside
Being a yogi in the summer gives us the unique opportunity to take our mat outside and reap the benefits of both our practice, and being outside in nature. Doing yoga anywhere is beneficial, but the healing is amplified when combined with fresh air and sunshine (read more about the benefits of sunlight here). Many yoga studios offer outside classes during the summer if their space allows, and you won’t have to look too far to find a summer yoga class at a park or on a beach.
Doing yoga outside creates a whole new level of grounding and connection, and can help us creatively maintain our summer yoga practice. If solo yoga is your thing, take your mat to a park or a lake or anywhere that makes you feel comfortable, relaxed, and connected with nature. I sometimes bring my mat to the cabin and roll it out on the dock for a practice, and the added benefit of a suntan. Listening to the birds chirp and the waves crash against the shore has a way of calming that a YouTube playlist can’t compete with.
The Downsides of Ditching Your Yoga Practice for Summer
Humans are habitual creatures. It is often said that it takes about 21 days to develop a habit, and about a third of that time to ‘lose’ a habit. Falling out of a routine, even for just a short amount of time, can make it difficult to pick back up. When we do something consistently, it becomes a habit and eventually, a part of our life, something we do without question like brushing our teeth. When that pattern is broken, we lose momentum. This is not to say that a habit can’t be reestablished; it absolutely can. It’s just easier to maintain if you don’t take a break in the first place!
A consistent yoga practice improves our health in many ways. Yoga helps keep our muscles flexible and strong, and keeps the flow of prana (life force energy) flowing freely in our mind and body. It helps our digestion, our sleep, and essentially every aspect of our physical and mental health. If we set our practice aside for the busy months of summer, we might start to see things manifest in our lives that were previously helped by yoga, such as increased anxiety or a resurgence of painful muscle tension. Maintaining even a fraction of your normal yoga/fitness routine will help you avoid many of the issues you’d likely experience from stepping away from your practice altogether.
Summer can be a chaotic time, with travels and days full of activities. If you want to make sure your body and mind are both in top condition, then maintaining your summer yoga practice is essential. Beyond the physical benefits, practicing yoga will give you the mental strength you need to enjoy summer and keep balance of body and mind during activities. If you’re looking for a unique summer yoga class, join us at Inspiring Actions for our Walk & Stretch class! We start with a brisk walk outside, followed by asana in the studio! Click here for more information and to reserve your spot, or take a look at our schedule to find another class that fits into your summer yoga practice!