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MINDBODY YogaWorks yoga wellness
Wellness
Published Monday Jun 17, 2019 by LeeMarie Kennedy

Yoga Moves to Salute the Summer Solstice

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YogaWorks
Yoga
Fitness
Personal Growth
Expert Advice

The summer solstice on June 21st signifies the longest, lightest day of the year and the start of our favorite season: summer! 

Dating all the way back to ancient times, the summer solstice marks the mystical, spiritually-heightened day when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky. Celebrated by many cultures and religions at festivals and ceremonies around the world, it honors a deep sense of devotion to nature, Mother Earth, and the energizing power of the sun. 

Yogis everywhere can experience the empowering effects of this supercharged day! The summer solstice is all about equilibrium—a time when the state of the cosmos is perfectly balanced by profound radiance. It stirs up something different in everybody, but this day is a great time to check in with the self and reinforce your connection to sunshine, warmth, and the beauty of the outdoors. Also, the summer solstice falls on the most important day of the yogi year: International Yoga Day! Coincidence? We think not. 

Here’s how the YogaWorks community is embracing summer solstice through their yoga practice: 

 

What’s hot for the soul this summer?

Summer is the perfect season to open up the body and deepen your connection with the mind and soul. As you shed your outer layers to welcome the warmer weather, use your yoga practice to remove the residual buildup of seriousness, stress, and tension that can cling on long after winter’s gone.

Summertime yoga says: get to your mat and get moving! Clear away the clutter. Take some deep, releasing breaths. You can move your practice outdoors, focus on areas you want to refine and restore for the season, or join your YogaWorks community at an event near you! 

 

Top yoga poses and flows to salute summer solstice. 

If you can make it to your mat, you can reap the many perks of this year’s summer solstice. To help you tap into your primal nature and take full advantage of the extended daylight, we put together a list of poses that inspire solar connection and leave you vibing as high as the sun in the sky. 

Not only can you find these poses in many of our YogaWorks classes, you can easily enjoy them outside on your own terms. Wherever you choose to flow, here are a few asanas to help you salute the summer sun and beam its nourishing energy from the inside out: 

 

Sun Salutation Flow

The most tried and true way to honor the sun is with an awakening Sun A (Surya Namaskara A) flow. Sun A is a primary yoga sequence designed to intuitively open the body, linking a series of eight asanas with flowing inhalations and exhalations: 

 

    •    Tadasana (Mountain Pose)


    •    Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)


    •    Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)


    •    Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)


    •    Plank Pose


    •    Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)


    •    Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose)


    •    Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)


 

Sun Salutations lengthen and strengthen the most essential muscles in the body, decompress the spine, and channel fresh breath through the entire system. They’re rooted in the rich tradition of ancient yogis who practiced them to begin their day with devoted movement and deep pranayama. 

Flowing through a few rounds will leave you feeling calm, clear, and ready to take on whatever comes your way—that’s why the best time to flow a Sun A is first thing in the morning, before any of the dreaded to-do’s creep in! Create your clean slate and see what serenity (and productivity) unfolds. 

 

Heart Openers

Heart openers like Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana), Camel Pose (Ustrasana) and Fish Pose (Matsyasana) deeply engage the Solar Plexus, your body’s third chakra, located in the upper part of your belly. They symbolize the element of fire, the color yellow, and your inner connection to the sun. 

In poses where the Solar Plexus is directly stimulated, intense sensations are known to surface. Let them. Yoga is the single best outlet for repressed expression and emotion. Whatever comes up, simply acknowledge it, breathe through it, and know you’ll leave your mat feeling lighter. 

Presenting the chest in such a proud and powerful way can often make us feel vulnerable and exposed. But by practicing these invigorating heart-opening postures, we expand the ribcage immensely and create even more space for breath to flow. Vulnerability isn’t a weakness—it’s a necessary step on the path to inner peace. 

 

Mermaid Pose 

What list of summer yoga poses would be complete without the Mermaid Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)? Also known as One-Legged King Pigeon Pose, this intermediate posture calls for openness in the hips and a willingness to channel the playful and beloved goddesses of the sea! 

You can make an extra splash by practicing your Mermaid Pose on a beach or shore to tune into the rejuvenating power of the water element. Flow a few Ocean Breaths (Ujjayi Pranayama) to sync up with the sound of the breaking waves. 

 

Celebrate International Yoga Day With YogaWorks

On June 21st, the entire YogaWorks community will celebrate International Yoga Day by flowing— and growing— together. Offering a series of special classes to honor the light in each and every body, join the expertly trained and passionate teachers at YogaWorks as we share in breath, flow through movement, and salute the power of the heightened sun. 

Show up to your favorite studio and experience that good, cosmic energy alongside your fellow flowmates! 

MINDBODY YogaWorks
Written by
LeeMarie Kennedy
Yoga Instructor
About the author
LeeMarie is a copywriter and content marketing specialist in Boston, Massachusetts. When she’s not meticulously wordsmithing, she can be found teaching as a certified yoga instructor, exploring her own yoga practice, traveling the world, laughing, drinking coffee or eating something delicious.
Yoga sleep tips MINDBODY
Wellness
Published Wednesday Sep 18, 2019 by Amber Scriven

4 Yoga Poses for a Better Night’s Sleep

Yoga
Personal Growth
Expert Advice

We’ve all had sleepless nights. It’s the worst! Watching the wee hours of morning tick away. Wishing we could slip into a restful sleep before our alarm goes off . The frustrating feeling of knowing exactly how many minutes there are before you need to be up. Then, struggling through a heavy relentless morning filled with self-medicating coffee runs, and a tired, snappy version of yourself dragging through the day. 

There’s no one miracle cure for insomnia because there are so many reasons for not being able to sleep. Many people, however, find relief by curbing stress right before bed. One way to do that is with a few choice yoga stretches that mellow you out by encouraging your Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) to ignite your bodies “rest and digest” cycles. This is the opposite of the “fight or flight” system that helps you race away from oncoming tigers, or other more urban “dangers.”  

Here are a few shapes that calm the nervous system and decrease adrenaline in the body to help you rest and ultimately sleep better. 
 

Legs-Up-the-Wall

This is a super simple way to relax right before bed, or even from the comfort of your bed. Pushing your legs up the wall helps move the lymph and blood out of your feet using gravity, this, in turn, means your heart doesn’t need to work as hard to pump it back up. Thus, things get a little quieter in your cardiovascular system helping to soothe your body into a sense of softness.

1
Legs-Up-the-Wall

This is a super simple way to relax right before bed, or even from the comfort of your bed. Pushing your legs up the wall helps move the lymph and blood out of your feet using gravity, this, in turn, means your heart doesn’t need to work as hard to pump it back up. Thus, things get a little quieter in your cardiovascular system helping to soothe your body into a sense of softness.

Supported Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

This shape uses the same idea as Legs-Up-the-Wall. It calms by inverting your hips above your heart, but it also stretches your neck and chest open for tension relief. The muscles can open and let go of anything they are holding onto. It also opens your lungs and diaphragm, which allows you to breathe more deeply, and that oxygen is a calmant.

2
Supported Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

This shape uses the same idea as Legs-Up-the-Wall. It calms by inverting your hips above your heart, but it also stretches your neck and chest open for tension relief. The muscles can open and let go of anything they are holding onto. It also opens your lungs and diaphragm, which allows you to breathe more deeply, and that oxygen is a calmant.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Folding forward in Child’s Pose works a little differently. It still opens the lungs (from the upper back), but it requires you to turn inwards. You could bring your hands by your sides for a more restorative version of the shape, and resting your head to one side or the other is often more comfortable. Alternatively, try resting your forehead on a block or the floor, and use that surface to massage the space between your eyebrows. This triggers an acupressure point between your eyebrows that stimulates the pineal gland to encourage a melatonin response. Melatonin is the hormone our bodies produce when it gets dark that tells us to go to sleep!

3
Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Folding forward in Child’s Pose works a little differently. It still opens the lungs (from the upper back), but it requires you to turn inwards. You could bring your hands by your sides for a more restorative version of the shape, and resting your head to one side or the other is often more comfortable. Alternatively, try resting your forehead on a block or the floor, and use that surface to massage the space between your eyebrows. This triggers an acupressure point between your eyebrows that stimulates the pineal gland to encourage a melatonin response. Melatonin is the hormone our bodies produce when it gets dark that tells us to go to sleep!

Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Use a couple pillows for this one! Pop one under your knees, one under your head or upper back, along your spine, and under your hands.Then, get ready to  fall asleep there. Let everything get heavy and drippy and start to think about that weighted sensation in your feet, slowly bring your attention up your body making each body part heavier and heavier as you go. This is a version of Yoga Nidra Meditation and it is extremely relaxing—but you must go slowly. 


So, there you have it! A few ideas from yoga, science, and acupressure to help you get some much-deserved ZZZ’s. 
 

4
Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Use a couple pillows for this one! Pop one under your knees, one under your head or upper back, along your spine, and under your hands.Then, get ready to  fall asleep there. Let everything get heavy and drippy and start to think about that weighted sensation in your feet, slowly bring your attention up your body making each body part heavier and heavier as you go. This is a version of Yoga Nidra Meditation and it is extremely relaxing—but you must go slowly. 


So, there you have it! A few ideas from yoga, science, and acupressure to help you get some much-deserved ZZZ’s. 
 

Amber Scriven Acupuncturist
Written by
Amber Scriven
Acupuncturist | Yoga Teacher
About the author
A busy acupuncturist, yoga teacher and trainer, Amber has actively worked in the wellness industry for over 10 years. For her, yoga is a form of health care that she uses alongside acupuncture in the form of retreats, injury rehabilitation, and pain relief. Amber is renowned for building emotional strength while cultivating physical health.