With the official start to the summer season just a week away, you might find that yoga during summer is an ideal way to shape up and reduce any stress you may be feeling.
While yoga can be practiced any time without any seasonality, the change in seasons makes some postures more relevant than others. For instance, there are yoga postures to help you cool down after a hike or run, like shoulder stand (padmasana); and some postures, like sun salutations, can replace a full workout when you’re in a time crunch.
Make your yoga practice a dynamic one and change a few things this season.
For starters, take your practice outdoors, fully embracing your connection with the earth, the warm rays of the sun, and the sounds of nature doing her thing. Be sure to use your yoga mat on a stable surface like a porch, and avoid soft surfaces like sand, which can increase the slipping risk of your hands and feet.
Introduce new poses, or increase some you might already use. For a yoga pose that makes your arms tank top-fit and your tummy bikini-ready, practice plank posture. Planks especially benefit your entire body, not just the arms. Try it for one minute, and then as you build strength, increase to two, and so on.
Remember that just working out your abs won’t give you the cut look you’re striving for, but some yoga positions can certainly help reach that goal. One of the many benefits of a yoga practice is that the intense breath work and full-body movements allow you to work many muscles of the stomach in nearly every posture you perform. There are, however, a few benchmark yoga postures for the core. Try boat pose (navasana) for toning the stomach muscles. The key with this posture is to hold it and to keep extending through the crown of your head and the tips of your toes; this action will consequently cause you to engage your core.
Like anything else, it won’t happen overnight, but continuous effort will yield results. And if you’re new to yoga, start by taking one to two yoga classes each week, or doing a couple of 20-minute yoga sessions at home. Gradually work your way up to three to five times per week.
By Heather Ashare, the resident yoga expert for DietsInReview.com.