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Yoga for the Summer Solstice

Sun's Out, Yoga's In
10 Poses to Celebrate the Summer Solstice

The longest day is almost upon us, and have we got a day planned for you. Steeped in traditions and celebrations across cultures, the summer solstice marks the peak of sunlight hours in the Northern Hemisphere. Some countries celebrate with bonfires. Some celebrate with a vibrant festival adorned with flowers, folk dances, and feasts. Some even gather together at dawn to watch the sunrise, while others festively pray to the sun for a good harvest.

If you love sunshine, the summer solstice is the perfect day to grab your sunscreen and soak up the summer vibes. And what better way to enjoy the day and attain zen than to do it with yoga.

Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that affirms itself with nature’s rhythm. The summer solstice emphasizes light and warmth, aligning perfectly with yoga’s energizing qualities. It’s the perfect companion to weave energy, positivity, and good vibes into your daily routine.

Benefits of Yoga for the Summer Solstice

Yoga isn’t just about fancy physical postures, it’s also about cultivating inner peace and joy. With the days being longer, and the sun’s rays piercing through with more intensity, yoga can help you access that same radiant energy within yourself.
Summer is the perfect time to step out for adventures. With yoga, you can build your strength and flexibility to conquer hikes, treks, bike rides, or simply a run to catch the ice cream truck.

The downside of summer is that it gets hectic and tiring. Yoga can help you stay grounded and present in the moment while allowing yourself to enjoy the season as you should.

Here are eight yoga poses perfectly suited for this time of the year. Grab your mat on June 20 (or June 21 to celebrate International Day of Yoga!) and enjoy!

1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, pressing down evenly through all four corners of your feet.
  2. Imagine a strong root growing from your navel into the earth, grounding you like a mighty tree.
  3. Lift your chest, lengthen your spine, and roll your shoulders back and down.
    Feel the crown of your head reaching for the sky.

This seemingly simple pose promotes good posture and body awareness, setting the foundation for your entire summer solstice yoga flow.

2. Uttanasana (Forward Fold)

  1. Hinge at your hips, lengthening your spine as you fold forward from your core, not rounding your back.
  2. Reach for your shins or the floor, feeling a gentle stretch in your hamstrings.
  3. Let your head hang heavy or rest it on your knees.
  4. Take deep breaths, letting go of any tension with each exhale.

This calming pose helps quiet the mind and improve circulation, a welcome effect for a potentially hot summer day.

3. Vrksasana (Tree Pose)

  1. Find your balance! Stand on one leg, rooting down through the ball of your foot for stability.
  2. Bring your other foot to rest on your inner ankle or calf, without putting pressure on your knee.
  3. You can also clasp your hands at your heart center for balance.
  4. Extend your arms overhead, palms facing each other, feeling strong and steady.
  5. Breathe deeply and focus on a single point to maintain your balance.

This pose strengthens your core and improves balance, just like a tree weathering the summer storm.

4. Vrikshasana Variation (Tree Pose with Twist)

Don’t just stop with the Vrikshasana; take it a step further!

  1. Once stable, gently twist your torso to the side, reaching your top arm overhead and bringing the opposite elbow behind your back.
  2. Breathe deeply and hold for a few breaths before switching sides.

This variation challenges your core a bit more and improves spinal mobility, keeping you feeling supple and ready for all the summer fun.

5. Sukhasana (Easy Pose)

After your invigorating flow, take a moment to center yourself.

  1. Sit comfortably on the floor with your legs crossed in front of you.
  2. If Easy Pose feels uncomfortable, you can sit on a folded blanket or yoga block for support.
  3. Rest your hands on your knees or lap, palms facing up.
  4. Close your eyes and focus on your breath.

This simple meditation pose allows you to connect with your inner peace and bask in the radiant energy of the summer solstice.

6. Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I Pose)

There’s a warrior within everyone, and it’s time to channel yours.

  1. Step back with one leg, bending your front knee until it’s directly over your ankle.
  2. Reach your arms up and back, palms facing each other, feeling strong and powerful.
  3. Open your chest and gaze forward.

This pose energizes your legs, strengthens your core, and ignites your inner fire – perfect for embracing the season’s vibrant energy.

7. Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge Pose)

Similar to Warrior I, but with your back knee lowered to the ground.

  1. Sink your hips back and down, keeping your front foot flat.
  2. Gently press your chest forward, reaching your spine long.
  3. Breathe deeply and feel the stretch opening up your hip flexors and quads.

This pose helps improve flexibility and prepares your body for all the summer adventures ahead.

8. Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose)

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.
  2. Lift your hips off the ground, interlacing your fingers beneath your body for support.
  3. If comfortable, extend your chin slightly towards your chest.

This pose strengthens your glutes and hamstrings, which are crucial for powerful jumps and deep squats, perfect for summer hikes or beach games. It also opens your chest, promoting deeper breaths and a sense of openness.

9. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)

  1. Start on all fours, with your knees hip-width apart and your hands shoulder-width apart.
  2. Push your hips back and up, straightening your legs as much as comfortably possible.
  3. Lengthen your spine and gaze back at your heels, creating a long, flat back.

This full-body stretch improves circulation, energizes your entire body, and strengthens your core, leaving you feeling refreshed and ready to take on the summer.

10. Savasana (Corpse Pose)

  1. Lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides and eyes closed.
  2. Relax your body and focus on your breath.
  3. Feel the earth supporting you as you take slow, deep breaths.

This final pose allows your body to integrate the benefits of your practice and soak in the summer solstice energy. Let go of any lingering tension and simply be present in the moment.

Other Factors to Consider

As you practice these postures, and soak up the sun’s rays, keep these measures in mind:

  • Consider incorporating pranayama (breathwork) exercises to calm yourself.
  • Always carry water with you and stay hydrated throughout the day.
  • Wear sunscreen no matter where you decide to set up shop to practice.
  • Practice yoga in the cooler hours of the day to avoid overheating.
  • Listen to your body as it knows what’s best for you. Take it easy, and enjoy the postures without pushing your body too far.

Let yoga be your companion this summer solstice as you harness the sun’s radiant energy, embrace yourself, and let yoga illuminate the path ahead.

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