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Wellness
Published Monday Jun 17, 2019 by LeeMarie Kennedy

Yoga Moves to Salute the Summer Solstice

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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.