It’s nearly autumn in Australia. Here on the East Coast we’ve experienced the hottest summer in many a year. Fortunately, the weather has become cooler recently, but still exceedingly humid.No matter what the weather is like this time of year, Australians are beginning to dream about setting off in their vans for northern coasts, inland lakes and The Outback.
Judith Lasater, author of Relax and Renew, says that it takes courage to rest and relax. It’s means you go oppose the protestant work ethic. But you are complying with the practical Buddhist idea:”When you are hungry, eat. When you are thirsty, drink, and when you are tired, sleep.”
What are we yogis supposed to do in this time of discomfort and perhaps difficult adjustments? Probably just what we have been doing. Keeping up yogic practices: asanas, pranayama, meditation, relaxation.
And, particularly in the summer heat, let’s do quiet, cooling and calming yoga practice. Save the jumping around and through. Spare yourself sweating the long timings in poses. Keep the goal-seeking, perfection part of your personality in check. And chill.
I hoard yoga sequences. When I write out a plan for teaching, I will use it for my own practice and for my classes over the week. But I seldom throw these programs out. I save my designs, and I keep other teachers’, too. If I do a class in San Francisco or Byron Bay or even with local teachers, I will ask for that teacher’s written plan.
After almost four decades of yoga practice and teaching, I have filled seven lever arch files. Each of these holds 500 A4 pages. In addition, I have a box of programs still to be filed which I haven’t been able to face as yet. There’s just one more area of hoarding. These are the folders from my retreat and workshop plans I’ve kept for years.
Back when I was just a just a youngster in my Iyengar yoga training, I attended six weeks of classes at the Yoga Institute in Poona, India. People seldom go to study with the Iyengars without the experience being life-changing; there’s so much to learn.
On one occasion, Mr. Iyengar’s son, Prashant, taught us in a general class. We warmed up for about an hour with standing poses, with special attention paid to tadasana (mountain pose). […]
On questionnaires that ask for me for my occupation, I write in ‘semi-retired’. That’s shorthand to describe that I work sometimes. At other times, I participate in various kinds of recreation, such as singing or tennis. I study a bit, and I also volunteer in the community in Palliative Care.
Though semi-retired, I haven’t cut back on my yoga practice. That’s just as well as I’m busier than I ever was when I worked full-time. This seems to be a common feature of those who profess to being semi-retired.
The healing benefits of supported bridge
Do you have poses that you do rain or shine and in all seasons. Your body and mind say, ‘This is an every day pose. Bring it!’ Supported bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) is one of these.
Adapt your practice
We’re facing a solid week ahead of temperatures in the low 30’s in our region, accompanied by high humidity. (For Americans, that translates to low 90’s.)
For me, that points to doing my best to stay cool when I do my yoga practice. And I use yoga tools, like meditation, pranayama, relaxation and passive yoga poses, to cool my body and brain.
Consider some of the ways you can support better breathing, for instance, lying supine over bolsters to open your chest. […]
My ritual morning cuppa
There’s a certain morning ritual that I have performed ever since I was 16 years old. This is the age when coffee and I started our long and friendly relationship.
I enrolled in a summer high school class which started at 7am. Everyone knows that teenagers are not biologically designed for early mornings. I was in shock when that first alarm went off. Making and drinking a cuppa soon became the ritual that got me going each day. […]
In the U.S., the stifling stickiness of the hot weather season is undeniably upon us so we yoga practitioners need to adapt to this climate. It’s not as humid here in Tucson as in the buildup to The Wet of Australia’s tropical north, but this weather can still be mind-numbing and body-immobilising.