This summer, I’ll be featuring some healthy living guest experts to share with you amazing tips, tricks and techniques that go beyond what you normally find here on The House of Healthy. You’ll find new and exciting ways to get healthy all summer long.
The week’s guest is Michelle from michellekyoga.com, where she features 5 fantastic ways to take your yoga practice (or any workout or routine) with you, no matter where you go on your summer vacation.
Did you do a happy dance on the last day of school? I certainly did! I found this year, with two kids in high school, absolutely torturous! Between homework and monitoring their social lives and online “footprint” I am tapped out! But, we made it, and now it’s time to recalibrate.
Time to slow down and be a bit lazy. Take walks, go for bike rides…and, go on vacation!
During the school year, I find it easier to make time for my yoga practice. I simply tell Siri when to schedule my practice on my iCal and then she gives me a reminder 30 minutes before class. I rarely miss a class. Summer is a whole different story. My schedule is no longer my schedule. It revolves around camps, classes and play dates. Siri takes a leave of absence. Some days I just roll out my mat in my backyard and some days I make it to the studio. But what about when I leave the comfort and convenience of my home and local yoga studios? When I can’t, or don’t want to, lug my mat on vacation with me? Well my fellow seekers, there are ways to take your yoga practice with you. No Mat Needed.
Remember, hundreds of years ago, yogis only had the earth or used animal skins (which seems un-yogic to me but…) to practice on. They certainly didn’t have fancy yoga mats!
With a few of these tips you will be ready to hit the road (or air, or sea) with your yoga practice:
1. Wake up early! Yes, I know you are saying “wait, what? Summer vacations are for sleeping in!” But have you ever taken the opportunity to get up while everyone else is sleeping in? Not because you have something to do but because you have NOTHING TO DO! In Sanskrit, the daily routine is called as Dinacharya. ‘Din’ means ‘day’ and ‘acharya’ means ‘to follow’ or ‘close to’. So, Dinacharya is an ideal daily schedule taking into account the nature’s cycle. In Ayurveda, the focus is levied on the early hours of the day as it is instrumental in setting the tone of your day. So…Rise and Shine!
2. Meditate : Just as the physical practice of yoga (asana) calms the body and releases stress, meditation calms the mind. Meditation isn’t easy, so don’t put pressure on yourself to sit still for any extended period of time or even to sit at all. Take a walk and breathe. Imagine your mind as the sky and your thoughts as the clouds. Allow the thoughts to pass without analysis or judgement.
3. Read: No, I’m not talking about downloading Fifty Shades of Grey on your iPad , I’m talking about picking up an actual book with pages to turn. Find a quiet comfy spot, maybe grab a pen or highlighter, and read. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, (a good book to start with!) the eightfold path is called ashtanga, which literally means “eight limbs”. These eight steps basically act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. The sixth step, or practice, is to develop ones concentration, known in Sanskrit as dharana. Reading is an active mental process which requires concentration. Dharana comes when we take what is in front of us and soak it up gradually and fully, like a sponge. “During the time I was actually focused on drawing… I wasn’t conscious of feeling “happy,” or of feeling anything at all. I was in the closest approximation to happiness that we can consistently achieve by any kind of deliberate effort: the condition of absorption… an absorption in the immediate so intense and complete that the idiot chatter of your brain shuts up for once and you temporarily lose yourself, to your relief.”—Cartoonist and NY Times writer, Tim Kreider, article “Averted Vision”
Dharana isn’t so much the state of concentration, as it is the act of brining your chitta or “monkey mind” back to whatever it is you’re focusing on.
4. Prop Your Practice without Yoga Props: A tree makes a great wall for Viparita Karani (legs up the wall
pose) or to practice kicking up into handstand. The sand can serve as an added balance challenge in Vrikasana (tree pose) and a simple rolled up towel can be used under your back for a heart opening Savasana (corpse pose).
5. Practice “Partner Yoga” with your partner or kids: “Partner yoga is the medium for building stronger communication and intimacy between human beings in any relationship,” explains Cain Carroll, co-author of Partner Yoga: Making Contact for Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Growth Like food and water, touch and intimacy are basic human needs. In partner yoga you are blending beneficial poses, conscious breathing, trust and communication…and of course playfulness and fun! Really, regardless of the outcome of the pose you are guaranteed to get a good laugh!