It’s so wonderful to practice Yoga outside, preferably on a field in the sun. What else could one ask for?
Maybe to find some undisturbed little place… :)
I think it’s great to spend some minutes on my own in the nature, far away from the turmoil of everyday life.
Also, I think that an outdoor Yoga practice is something completely different from practicing at home in the living room. The energy is so different and there’s so much more to notice. Grounding poses seem to be easier, especially when touching the soil with your bare feet. I love listening to the sounds of the nature and to the water if there’s some nearby.
My favorite asanas for the summer
It can be pretty hot on some summer days and when it’s a really high temperature outside I rather concentrate more on the ‘basics’. Not too many extraordinary or too exhausting asanas, but more the ‘easy’ poses that can be practiced slowly and mindfully. I love practicing seated asanas because they’re not too demanding, neither physically nor for the circulation.
Beginners and advanced Yogis can practice these asanas which makes them very valuable.
I wish you lots of fun trying them out!
Navasana – The Boat and its variations
Navasana is a core-activating pose that can be a little challenging and also boosting for the balance the more you practice it. There are many different variations.
To practice the classic pose simply ground your sitting bones, lift up the legs and reach out your arms to the front or to the sides. Be careful to always keep the back straight, especially the lower part of the back. Keep your belly button sucked in towards your spine to activate your core and breathe constantly and deeply.
If you want the pose to become a little more challenging, then straighten your legs so your body creates a V-shape.
Some of my current Navasana-favorites involve the grip around my toes or a combination of Navasana, Half Lotus Seat and the grip around the toes.
To make it easier you can also use a strap around your foot or feet to avoid too much tension along the backside of your body.
Ustrasana – The Camel pose
The deep Camel pose is a deep backbend that opens the heart and that demands a lot of strength in the whole body.
Unlike in the cold season, nature ‘opens’ itself up during the summer months: it blossoms and there’s life everywhere.
Heart-opening poses are – like the name already tells you – opening, and can be symbollically used to fit the season. During your practice you could tell yourself some mantras over and over again, like ‘I open myself up to all the wonderful experiences in life’ or ‘I open up my heart to give and to receive love.’
There are so many variations of the Camel pose, and a backbend isn’t always the same as a backbend. Even a Camel can be practiced gently. To do that you don’t overbend your back, you simply bend back a little and keep your hands on your sacral bone.
To get into that pose keep your knees hip-width apart and press your feet firmly into the ground, keeping them parallel. Inhale deeply and suck in your belly button towards the spine to stabilize your back and keep it sucked in all the time. With your next deep inhale try to ‘lift up’ your ribcage with your hands on your sides a little. Let your hands drop to the sacral bone, keep the length and bend backwards, but only as far as it feels comfortable.
The neck follows this movement as the last part of your body, and only if it feels OK to do so. Never let your neck simply hang, try to keep it stable.
This asana isn’t about getting deeper and deeper into a backbend, it’s about how much you can feel the sensation of the ‘opening’ and let it happen. For this experience you don’t need to get that deep.
To come up again first keep the core tight and, if you touched your heels with your hands, bring them back up to your sacral bone to support yourself. Now get up mindfully and with a long spine and come back to the kneestand.
Following this, spend some deep breaths in Child’s pose as compensation for the backbend by sitting back down on your heels and bringing your forehead to the ground. You can stretch out your arms to the front or let them rest by your side.
Ardha Matsyendrasana – The Seated Twist
Twists are supposed to be detoxing, like the seated twist. It’s a very soothing pose that creates length in the spine and a gentle opening of the upper body. Also the intestines are being massaged gently by each breath. It’s important to keep your back straight and the shoulders low, and that you can sit comfortably on both of your sitting bones.
Put the left foot beside the outside of your right knee on the ground and pull your right heel towards your bottom. Inhale and straighten your back, exhale and embrace your knee with your right arm and put your left hand behind your bottom on the ground. Let the twist mainly happen in your upper spine.
There are many variations how to put the arms. For example, you could put your elbow in front of the knee to use it as a lever to deepen the twist a little more.
Hold this pose for a few deep breaths and then switch the sides.
Easier version: if you have problems with your knees, or both sitting bones cannot stay on the ground simultaneously, then keep your lower leg straight.
Gomukhasana – Cow Face Pose
A hip opener in combination with an opener for the shoulders. Let your legs rest on top of each other with the upper knee lying on the lower knee. The fingertips are touching each other on the back.
This pose is all about ‘letting go‘ and ‘dedication‘. Hip openers are often the kind of asanas that almost cause us pain and make us feel uncomfortable because we hold so much tension in our hips. To release this tension it takes time and patience. Sometimes these asanas aren’t even possible at all for some people. Then it’s all about giving yourself even more time and being gentle.
Easier version: If you have problems with your knees or if the hips aren’t open enough, you can keep your lower leg straight to avoid causing pain in your knees. Also, the hands on your back don’t need to touch each other, you can simply think about reaching for your fingertips and let your hands rest on your back whereever they can reach. You could also use a strap to connect your hands.
Dont forget to practice this pose with the other side, too!
Vrksasana – Tree pose
There’s a link between the tree pose and words like balance and ease, grounding, fortitude, concentration and focus, or being centered. Here in this post from last August I already wrote something about finding the balance. It’s not the same from day to day, sometimes it’s easier, sometimes it’s harder. But if you practice balancing poses daily or at least regularly, then your brain gets trained, too, and ‘saves’ the balancing success.
Esprecially the Tree pose is wonderful when being practiced in nature because you could visualize how roots grow into the ground from your standing foot, and how you grow taller and taller from your head upwards and how your hands can reach the sky.
Here you can play around, too: try to raise your arms in a V-shape towards the sky, or try to bend yourself from side to side side a little or to stretch out your leg to the front.
If you want to challenge yourself a little more, try to close your eyes and feel where your center is right now.
Easier version: To hold the balance as a beginner you could simply lift your foot just a little and lean your heel against the ankle of the standing leg while your toes remain on the ground. Or you could gently press your foot against the lower leg, but refrain from placing your foot directly on your knee to avoid straining it too much.