Photo - Yoga teacher Keely Thomson, 432 Yoga studio
17 mini ‘yoga projects’ to try this summer
Summer holidays. Aahhhh...
Lazy beach days, BBQ’s and a well-deserved rest from the 9-5 grind…..
But what about your regular yoga practice?
Will it fit in around the festivities, socialising and chilling-out?
If not, that’s OK. Your ‘usual’ deserves a break too, right?
In fact, a holiday (whether away or at home) is a great opportunity to spread your yoga wings, shake things up and learn something new about your yoga.
Here are 17 mini ‘yoga projects’ to inspire fun and expansion this summer:
- Freshen up
As the first Niyama, (the ethical guidelines that deal with our attitudes towards ourselves), Sauca refers to cleanliness of your physical body and surroundings. These holidays, embody saucha by cleaning up your yoga gear and practice space, ready for another year of service.
Your mat will appreciate a quick wipe-down and air-dry, and pop any bolster covers etc through a gentle wash cycle. Remember to be kind on the planet – for your yoga mat create a low-tox wash by filling a spray bottle with equal parts water and white vinegar, and use eco-friendly detergent for washing your bolster covers.
Spruce up your yoga space or storage area with a dust and mop, and sort through your yoga books and magazines. Recycle or donate any items that no longer serve you.
- Get outside
Break free from your usual four walls - roll out your mat in the great outdoors! Why not try a sun-salute at sunrise, or a series of grounding supine postures with Mother Earth directly underfoot? The fresh air and abundance of natural beauty outside are bound to inspire you.
(Of course, be sun smart - practice in the shade and avoid the hottest part of the day. Don’t forget your water, bug spray, hat and sunscreen!)
- Plan to retreat
Delight your future self by booking a retreat or special workshop for later in the year.
If an off-site adventure isn’t possible, no worries - simply schedule a DIY retreat at home!
- Visit an Ashram
An Ashram is a residential community devoted to living and learning about a yogic lifestyle. Most are located in gorgeous, serene settings, and welcome guests to be part of Ashram life for just a day or longer.
While every Ashram is different, a visit will likely expand your experience of silence, vegetarian food, community, kirtan and service. A quick web-search will reveal Ashrams close to you.
- Share the love
You love yoga, right? How about bringing a friend, partner or family member your next class so they appreciate your passion? You never know, you’re yoga buddy may end up loving it as much as you!
- Set a day of intention
Whether you want to experience playfulness, compassion or productivity, pick a heartfelt intention to flavour everything you say, do and think for an entire day. At the start of the day, you might like to write your intention down, or repeat it to yourself mentally. Throughout the day, revisit your intention. At the end of your day, notice how your day of intention felt.
Mouna, the observation of silence, can highlight the ‘noise’ of your thoughts, and help to filter and quiet them. Plan a day of silence (which includes refraining from emails, internet, phone calls, gesticulation, and tv) and see what unfolds for you.
- Practice by candlelight/ moonlight
Flip your usual daytime yoga routine on its head! Venture out into a starry night or replace your internal lights with candles for a darkened practice. Use the experience to notice the play of your other senses when your sight is reduced.
- Go freestyle
Forget the ‘rules’ for a day! Pop on your stretchy pants, roll out the mat and choose your own yoga adventure! Create a freestyle practice by listening to your body and moving in a way that simply feels good. You may even come up with your very own new yoga pose!
- Yoga off the mat
Seva the practice of selfless service, contributes a positive effect to a wider group. It may look like formally volunteering in your community, or simply keeping your suburb clean for the greater good. Seek out possibilities around you.
- Brush up on sanskrit
No doubt you’ve encountered many sanskrit words, terms and chants in your yoga journey. But how many of them do you really understand, or even pronounce properly? Choose a few words or a chant that piques your interest, and dive deep into their significance.
- Try a yoga spin-off
These days, there are countless new, fun and even weird iterations of traditional yoga! Park your scepticism for a day and get curious - pick from stand-up paddleboard yoga, yoga with your dog, aqua-yoga and more.
- Get grounded
Shake off your shoes and try a walking meditation. Find a quiet space (indoors or out) where you can walk back and forth freely, slowly and without distraction. Keeping your breath full, soft and easy, focus on all the sensations that arise as you move. Experiment with different types of textures underfoot - sand, grass, wood, concrete.
- Enjoy a summer of savasana
Be honest, are you guilty of skipping savasana every now and then? Holiday time is a great opportunity to rest - long and deep - in yoga’s ultimate pose of relaxation. Reckon you can practice savasana for 20 minutes every day for a week? Go on, give it a try this summer!
- Start a yoga journal
Foster a new habit to jot down how you feel before and after a yoga or meditation session. Even a few words will provide some great insights as to how your practice seeps into your everyday life.
- Discover your ayurvedic dosha
According to Ayurveda, India’s traditional medicine system, each of us are made of a unique blend of 3 ‘Dosha’s’ or mind-body energies - Vata (air), Pitta (fire) or Kapha (earth). Once you know your mind-body type, it’s easier to make lifestyle choices that best support your unique nature. This quiz will identify your dosha.
- Lock it in
Make a commitment to yourself and your practice by scheduling in your yoga sessions for after your summer break. Many yoga studios make this easy with an option to book classes online, or go old-school and write it in your diary. Whether you choose 10 minutes home practice a week, or led classes every other day, if you schedule it, it’s more likely to happen!
The yoga world is vast! This summer, take off and explore as many new and different yoga expressions as you can.
Wherever you land, your adventure is bound to grow your love and appreciation for all things yoga.