Just as seasonal foods are the best nutritional way to balance our bodies (sweet summer berries to cool and hydrate), so Seasonal Yoga is the best way to balance body and mind via breath, movement, mudra and meditation.
During the Early Summer months the powerful sun’s rays digest all things day after day; therefore Kapha decreases day by day and Vata increases consequently.’ — Astanga Hrdyam
Ayurveda states here that Kapha decreases and Vata increases and in other parts of the text illiterates that at this stage, Kapha is simply returning to normal and Vata is only mildly increased. Therefore, we can say that we need to create a balancing action on neither Vata nor Kapha at this stage/season. Pitta is not mentioned directly in the section of Rtucharya (seasonal regimes) but we know from other parts of the Ayurvedic texts that the hot and sharp Guna/qualities increase on hot and sunny days stimulating the same qualities within the body, affecting the hot and sharp Pitta dosha. If the heat stays high for a long time, Pitta dosha should be attended to. If there are not many hot days in a row, Pitta will rise and fall accordingly, never becoming too aggravated.
As Vata is mildly increased and the sun is having an effect on Pitta dosha, we can presume that the quality that is shared by both these dosha, lightness (laghu guna), will be the most affected during Early Summer. Therefore, we must make our yoga practices grounding practices.
The most grounding poses are the forward folds/flexion of the spine. Forward folds drive the Prana downwards from navel to tailbone. This movement of Prana is called Apana Vayu. Apana Vayu is linked to the Earth Element (Prthvi Bhuta) and when we think of ‘earthing’ something, we naturally think of it being ‘grounded’ also. The lowest chakra, Muladhara Chakra is the area of the body that is linked with forward folds, the earth element and Apana Vayu. Teaching the subtleties of Muladhara Chakra on it’s own and within other poses can be a key theme during your Early Summer practices.
Apana Vayu’s energy is located in the lower abdomen and includes the energetic movement of the legs. All standing poses and sequences taught with attention to how we use the feet, padabandha and the ‘core lines’ from the arches to uddiyana bandha can be weaved into your early Summer flows and all of these strong poses work well with the early summer muscles as we can see below.
If we look at the meridians/muscles that are important in Chinese Medicine in Early Summer (Pericardium – Gluteus Maximus and Triple Heater – Sartorius), we can see that both the standing poses/sequences and the forward folds such as pigeon, upavista konasana, balasana and frog would stimulate all of these and so we can work this way to create more sequences for the Early Summer; and if you add kapalabhati (skull shining breath), muladhara bandha instruction and a long savasana practice to your yoga sessions, you can can help the grounding effects multiply!
A great Kapha album has been created by Jai Uttal to help invoke stability and stillness ….and that is the album that is most helpful for the Early Summer rather than the Pitta album. Surrounding yourself and your practice with the beautiful music from this album can help bring forward the Guna (qualities) that will help balance your rhythms with Nature’s.
A perfect end to your home practice or yoga class could be an extra long savasana along with Yoga Nidra.
If we are practicing Ayurveda for the Yogi Soul at home, we can add our ‘off the mat’ practices such as Abhyanga (whole body oiling) and Karna Purana (oiling the ears) and Gandusha (oil pulling).
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Please do share to any groups, friends, yoga teachers or seasonal yoga lovers that you know!:)