In Ayurveda, Summer is pitta season; hot, driven and active. Having a lot of work to do or being hectic is part of life sometimes. Being productive is good, just remember that body awareness is very important as you go along; otherwise your energy will dissipate and you might experience burn-out. Being ‘really busy’ is seen as normal by many; but do you sometimes avoid emotions, silence or solitude by keeping yourself busy?
This sadhana is about slow, mindful movement to calm pitta. Vatta types will find it helpful too, as they are often running from one thing to the next, or buzzing with thoughts.
Where you practice is important. Summer means warmer temperatures for a lot of us, and once it’s not raining, there are advantages to practicing outside. In nature is ideal, so think about your options. Is it possible to go somewhere quiet, green and serene? Is there a or garden that you can use? In cities, seek out the parks.
Walk around some morning and explore areas near where you live with fresh eyes. Bring a yoga mat, lie on it and test the ground. Find somewhere that feels good. To get to my favourite spot, I walk 20 minutes on a road, then along a canal to finally arrive at a riverbank. It is worth it.
Do sadhana at the same time for 40 days. But if for some reason you miss it, just carry on as best you can. A 20-minute asana or meditation routine every morning is better than doing nothing. Don’t beat yourself up about it; life happens. It is not a rigid drill.
Before I go to bed I leave a mat, a blanket (or warm hoody) for savasanna, notebook and pen by the door to pick up and go outside for yoga next morning. Practice begins once I open the door. If you have to walk any distance listen to the sounds of the day, breathe mindfully, walk with awareness, observe the mind.
Begin in Savasanna
Sitting in base position, support yourself by putting your hands behind you. Look at your toes and start to move the toes of one foot, then the other. Fan out your toes then close them. Scrunch up the toes then relax them. Point them and stretch the foot forward. Flex the foot and bend the toes towards you. Experiment to see how many ways you can engage with your feet. Control the movements, alternating between both feet. Allow all other parts of the body to relax as you do so. Do 5-10 repetitions of each movement.
Pause in between movements. Breathe into your body and feel where it has warmed up already. Meditate on the root chakra for a few moments. Close your eyes and visualise the colour red.
Stay sitting or stand up now; whatever you feel like.
Keep your spine straight and head looking straight ahead. Change direction and rotate from back to front.
Gently tilt your head to one side, bringing your ear towards your shoulder. Don’t turn your neck; look straight ahead. Pause when you reach your limit. Breathe. Mindfully bring your head to centre and repeat on the other side.
Roll your head in a full circle. Your neck will make a clicking sound in some sections. Imagine your head is on wheels that run along a track. When you encounter a bumpy part on the track you are following, slow down even more and gently roll your neck through, then carry on. Observe happens in your neck. Each side might feel different.
Sit up straight, legs outstretched. Put your hands flat on the mat behind you then bend one leg at the knee and place it over the opposite thigh, foot flat on the mat. Twist your spine and turn your head to look behind with every exhalation. Inhale to lengthen up through the crown of your head, exhale to twist. Hold the asana and count to 15 or 30 if you can, then gently release it and return to centre before doing a spinal twist on the opposite side.
This asana involves a lateral twist along the complete length of the spine. It benefits your overall posture by increasing spinal flexibility and stimulates your manipura chakra; think yellow and focus on your solar plexus.
Art, photos and writing by Kathryn Crowley 2018.
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ABOUT KATHRYN CROWLEY
My first yoga experience was with Binu Lav. Binu was born in Kerala, India, which is the home of yoga and ayurveda (the world's oldest healing system). It was a privilege to receive yoga knowledge in the traditional way. Outside, one-to-one, I learned master to student,surrounded by the sounds of nature.
In my 20s,returning to yoga helped me through tough times and made me feel even better in good times. Eventually,I formed a regular practice and qualifed to become an instructor.
Yoga is my natural daily medicine. Ireland is damp,so the physical movements ease the symptoms of fibromyalgia in my body. There's always more to learn,and I've met some really genuine teachers along the way to inspire me.
It's my pleasure to share yoga. What we do in class can benefit anyone physically, mentally or spiritually.It's all the one.
As well as yoga, I am motivated by being in nature and the lovely people in my life. Some of my favourite activities include making music, writing and painting.