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The summer solstice on June 21st signifies the longest, lightest day of the year and the start of our favorite season: summer!
Dating all the way back to ancient times, the summer solstice marks the mystical, spiritually-heightened day when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky. Celebrated by many cultures and religions at festivals and ceremonies around the world, it honors a deep sense of devotion to nature, Mother Earth, and the energizing power of the sun.
Yogis everywhere can experience the empowering effects of this supercharged day! The summer solstice is all about equilibrium—a time when the state of the cosmos is perfectly balanced by profound radiance. It stirs up something different in everybody, but this day is a great time to check in with the self and reinforce your connection to sunshine, warmth, and the beauty of the outdoors. Also, the summer solstice falls on the most important day of the yogi year: International Yoga Day! Coincidence? We think not.
Summer is the perfect season to open up the body and deepen your connection with the mind and soul. As you shed your outer layers to welcome the warmer weather, use your yoga practice to remove the residual buildup of seriousness, stress, and tension that can cling on long after winter’s gone.
Summertime yoga says: get to your mat and get moving! Clear away the clutter. Take some deep, releasing breaths. You can move your practice outdoors, focus on areas you want to refine and restore for the season, or join your YogaWorks community at an event near you!
If you can make it to your mat, you can reap the many perks of this year’s summer solstice. To help you tap into your primal nature and take full advantage of the extended daylight, we put together a list of poses that inspire solar connection and leave you vibing as high as the sun in the sky.
Not only can you find these poses in many of our YogaWorks classes, you can easily enjoy them outside on your own terms. Wherever you choose to flow, here are a few asanas to help you salute the summer sun and beam its nourishing energy from the inside out:
Sun Salutation Flow
The most tried and true way to honor the sun is with an awakening Sun A (Surya Namaskara A) flow. Sun A is a primary yoga sequence designed to intuitively open the body, linking a series of eight asanas with flowing inhalations and exhalations:
• Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
• Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute)
• Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
• Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
• Plank Pose
• Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose)
• Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose)
• Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
Sun Salutations lengthen and strengthen the most essential muscles in the body, decompress the spine, and channel fresh breath through the entire system. They’re rooted in the rich tradition of ancient yogis who practiced them to begin their day with devoted movement and deep pranayama.
Flowing through a few rounds will leave you feeling calm, clear, and ready to take on whatever comes your way—that’s why the best time to flow a Sun A is first thing in the morning, before any of the dreaded to-do’s creep in! Create your clean slate and see what serenity (and productivity) unfolds.
Heart openers like Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana), Camel Pose (Ustrasana) and Fish Pose (Matsyasana) deeply engage the Solar Plexus, your body’s third chakra, located in the upper part of your belly. They symbolize the element of fire, the color yellow, and your inner connection to the sun.
In poses where the Solar Plexus is directly stimulated, intense sensations are known to surface. Let them. Yoga is the single best outlet for repressed expression and emotion. Whatever comes up, simply acknowledge it, breathe through it, and know you’ll leave your mat feeling lighter.
Presenting the chest in such a proud and powerful way can often make us feel vulnerable and exposed. But by practicing these invigorating heart-opening postures, we expand the ribcage immensely and create even more space for breath to flow. Vulnerability isn’t a weakness—it’s a necessary step on the path to inner peace.
What list of summer yoga poses would be complete without the Mermaid Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)? Also known as One-Legged King Pigeon Pose, this intermediate posture calls for openness in the hips and a willingness to channel the playful and beloved goddesses of the sea!
You can make an extra splash by practicing your Mermaid Pose on a beach or shore to tune into the rejuvenating power of the water element. Flow a few Ocean Breaths (Ujjayi Pranayama) to sync up with the sound of the breaking waves.
Approximately 12,000 women aged 40 or younger are diagnosed with breast cancer every year*. Fortunately, there are preventative steps that we can take to help protect ourselves and each other—one of the best ones being exercise. That’s right. Not only does exercise help us release endorphins, but just 30 minutes of exercise three to four times per week can help decrease a person’s risk of developing breast cancer by 30–50%*.
This is hope in a statistic. Just by adopting a more healthy, active lifestyle, we could prevent the risk of developing breast cancer, while also inspiring others to reduce their risk as well. Keep A Breast Foundation has made doing just this their mission through their annual fundraising campaign, Fit 4 Prevention.
Every October, studios from all over the globe participate by raising money through donation-based workout classes for the Keep A Breast Foundation (KAB). They have created a national movement dedicated to educating others about breast cancer prevention through fitness and wellness—something Mindbody is extremely passionate about. Participating in your favorite activities, all while supporting, preventing, and spreading awareness about breast cancer awareness? Let’s get moving.
If you want to take a donation-based class at your favorite studio, encourage your favorite studios to sign up to bring your community closer together in a meaningful way. Registering is quick and easy. If you think your local studio may be interested in participating, have them check out KAB’s help page—where they can learn how to register for a donation-based class during the month of October. KAB even has a social media kit available to fitness studios to help them promote their donation-based classes.
Can’t find a local studio to take a donation-based class near you? Don’t worry, you can still give your support by donating directly to KAB’s website. Luckily, any time that you are moving your body and spreading the word—you’re doing your part in spreading awareness on how to help prevent breast cancer. That is beyond amazing.
This October, we hope you’ll join us in our plight to support the KAB Foundation and its mission to help prevent breast cancer through cultivating a healthier, more active lifestyle. Through movement, health, and wellness—we can reach great heights, together.
To learn more about the KAB Foundation and its mission and how you can get involved further, visit their website.
* National Cancer Institute