Hatha yoga teaches us to use oppositional poses to achieve balance in the body, to build strength and restore the spirit. Examples of this practice of opposites working in tandem to attain balance in nature are easy to find: moisture balance is maintained by alternating air and light with water, temperature is regulated by light and dark, the earth as a whole is given periods of work and rest with the changing of the seasons. Using nature to guide a yoga practice is a fantastic way to enhance its balancing nature.
To practice a Namaste Yoga sequence in the heat of day, why not place your mat in some calm, cool shade? Perhaps a shade tree will make for a perfect yoga partner, in which case you might consider pairing a sequence that inspires focus on extension of your limbs, such as Heart Opening, with an episode that utilizes tree poses, such as Riding the Wind. The location, paired with these sequences, can create a very unifying setting that truly improves your practice and leaves you relaxed and refreshed by the time you reach Savasana.
When you initiate your practice, be sure to situate your mat so you face the tree. As you are moving through the Heart Opening Sequence, notice the branches of the tree, and envision your reach as long and seemingly endless as you move through Lateral Angle, Exalted Warrior and Triangle poses. Breath in the Heart Opening breath-body link seems to fill you with the strength and stability of the tree whose space you have chosen to share.
Imagine if, by the time you are ready to begin the Riding the Wind Sequence, it so happens that a breeze makes itself available? What an energizing moment that can be! As if nature itself is encouraging your practice, helping you lift your limbs into the advanced tree variation. As you are still facing the tree, focus on its trunk and heed the call to keep your own core strong and stable. You are sure to become even more aware of the texture of the ground beneath your mat in this sequence as you are called to balance on each leg alternately. This may cause some stability issues, but hey, consider the tree your yoga partner for the day, grab a branch with a smile and say "thanks, friend!"
Glowing in the Shade
As you relax down into savasana, notice how light filters through the sway of multitudes of leaves. Feel the protected coolness of the air in this shaded place, your little haven in the midst of heat and summer activities. Notice your breath, and allow yourself to melt into this moment of easy stillness. Air and space, light and dark, breath and body existing gently in this peaceful place made of equal parts strength and ease. Stay and enjoy as long as your life allows, then share your experience with our Namaste Yoga communities on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Snap a picture and use the hashtag #namasteNewViews in the comments. We'll give one contributor a Namaste travel yoga mat at random this week.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Heather Gregory is an avid Namaste yogini and has been practicing the sequences nearly every day for nearly four years. Her favourite part of Namaste is the opportunity it affords to find her calm, collected center and carry that forward through each day. We enlisted Heather to share her #namasteNewViews as she explores the practice with our iTunes downloads, and blog about her experiences. You can contact her at email@example.com