Ah, summer! Get thyself outdoors. As New Yorker’s, we know that the beauty of summer is best savored in the doses Mother Nature metes out to us. That twilight hour with the perfect breeze, the rare day with no humidity, the return of great institutions like Summer Stage, and the sudden desire to move to Red Hook because it’s just perfect this time of year.
The beauty of summer also harks the great juggle of time and space for many of us. Your work schedules with the kids being out of school, family visits and vacations, and just wanting to be outside.
All of this can add up to a dusty yoga mat in the corner of your apartment and your best intentions to get to class, seemingly felled at every turn.
What’s the best way to stay on the mat when summer hits? Set some clear intentions, backed up by actionable goals, and there’s a good chance the summer sun and fun can nurture your yoga practice in a whole new way! Here are some tips and tricks we use to stay focused while enjoying summer’s bounty.
1. Practice outside! As New York is a yoga town, there’s no shortage of outdoor yoga. Feel a little self-conscious practicing outside? You’re not alone! But this is where being one of the crowd has its benefits. These events are massive and you can’t help but get sucked into the energy – how cool is it to down dog in Times Square? That’s why we live here, because nothing else matches that!
In Brooklyn, lululemon Brooklyn and Bend & Bloom Yoga are hosting yoga in Prospect Park every Thursday night. There’s a great teacher there every Thursday through September. (including us, we’re teaching on June 27th!) Grab your mat, a friend, and enjoy twilight yoga on the lawn. Can’t join us on Thursdays? Check out alignyo or Yoga City NYC for a comprehensive list of outdoor yoga events in NYC, from your local park to the massive Solstice in Times Square event on June 20th. And the best part? Most of these events are free.
2. Clarify your intention. This is key when your daily schedule is tossed askew by your kids being home or vacation. Do you need a full 60 or 90 minute practice every day? Are you looking to maintain the work you’re doing in class? Or do you simply want to reconnect to yourself amidst the busy of playdates and the nothing of being on the beach? By clarifying your intention, you can set realistic expectations of yourself and start banishing words like should from your vocabulary. Or, at least, start wrestling with them on more fair ground.
3. And speaking of should … nothing sucks the life and joy out of a yoga practice faster than the word “should”. Why should you practice? Sure, the benefits to the body and mind are well-established. However, nothing sets up an energetic and mental chafing than the word “should”.
The killjoy of should is more of an energetic finger-wagging, a nag, something to tick off of our list than a motivator. Should you practice? It’s a much more interesting question to figure out if you want to practice. How about need to practice? Ask yourself that, then see if it is easier to cut through your list of excuses the more relevant the practice is to your heart and head space – the physical almost becomes a freebie at that point.
4. Set the conditions for success! As you set the conditions for your mind, set the conditions for your space. Not a morning person, but only have time in the morning? Put everything out the night before. Or, practice at night – some of us are just wired night owls.
No space in your apartment? Here are a few poses you can do on the couch or against the wall. A bit leery of sequencing? Use a good-old fashioned DVD or find a podcast, or subscribe to YogaGlo for access to streaming video from teachers across the county. On vacation? Find the local yoga studio – Google it or ask the locals. A local yoga studio is the new coffee shop and everyone seems to have one (and an opinion on one!) – buy the new student special so you have to go a few times before you leave. If it’s as friendly as Mala, you might find a few new friends by week’s end.
What are some strategies and tips you use to keep yourself on the mat once things heat up? Let us know in the comments!