Summer & Yoga

As the summer sun blasts us all with its tropical limb-softening powers, I am often reminded of how much more deeply we can experience our yoga postures.

Last summer I went to Spain to see family and doing yoga there was incredible, the heat seemed to melt some of my joints, my muscles were up for it and all kinds of "difficult" yoga poses were suddenly much more friendly.
The weather we are experiencing now around the summer solstice can either spring us back to our mats, or leave us in our hammocks/desk/ napping in siesta heat as all the clever people do (radio 3, I didn't make that up, although I'm not sure of their testing criteria).

Lots of the collective teachers are taking a bit of time off over the summer, and there is a neatness to the staggered nature of this..

Nick is currently in a 4 week break from sessions, his life has become "summer busy" so needed to take a break, but will be back mid-July for the summer!

Katie is taking the school holidays off, so July 21st will be her last session till September when "Easy Sessions" at chapel house will start up, as well as the usual Friday sessions. Check out the posters below.

Joy is doing great things in her working life & will hold yoga sessions at various festivals over the summer, Buddhafield will most likely be the next one, look out for her if you're going! (& maybe take your mat)

Natalie seems to have endless energy and will be steaming on through the summer with her sessions.

Gina is doing a bit of Kundalinini training in July, so expect a bit of a change from her to assimilate what I'm assured is a life changing thing to do, perhaps check in with her if you haven't seen her recently. Nice one Gina.

Chloe is contentedly sticking with evening sessions at chapel house studios over the summer, so for the cooler hours of the day you're in safe hands.

Meanwhile as this is a time to be outside & doing lovely things, many of the class-based sessions are running a little thin on the ground, so if you're up for trying yoga again after a break, or signing up for the September sessions now is a sneaky time to get in there before your space gets taken!

Behind the scenes of the yoga community in Totnes a few of us have started thinking about the October day of yoga, where we will be expanding our hold on Totnes, and opening up to host in both Birdwood House, in the market square and "Move Forward", both in the heart of Totnes. This will enable more folks to come and also to allow for some longer sessions.
Many of the styles we practice are better appreciated when given the chance to go deeper and enjoy a longer session, so with the feedback we have gathered from the last few yoga days we are morphing to meet your needs.
Having said that, the longer sessions may not be for you- so we will keep the shorter sessions as well for ease- especially if you're signing up to all the classes!

Summer solstice
One of my clients said to me recently " it's a bit depressing thinking the summer is going 'down hill' now" I can see where he's coming from, what comes around goes around, and whatever our emotional outlook is on this inevitable cyclic adventure we'd be better off accepting rather than resisting the tides of the seasons ...right?

On a more positive slant...
In many cultures mid-summer is considered a time to stop and gather to rest and bring folks together, I guess that works better when theres less chance of rain & we can all wander round in t-shirts & sandals.

Our bodies and ourselves reflect the natural world we live in and being in harmony with the seasons increases health and well-being. This is not just woo-woo, this is real.
As the sun has a more dominant effect on us with our longer days, we also wilt in the heat of the midday sun, greedily guzzling water to stop our bodies from drying up, just like our sorry looking gardens during the hosepipe ban- although some don't realise they can water their edibles!! 

In TCM (Traditional Chinese medicine) There are 2 summers, as well as the other seasons. I love the idea of High summer, and have used it in the past when teaching powerful yoga like Ashtanga yoga where a lot of stamina is required.
High summer is that time when the zealous phase of summer has passed and the body has gone through the rigour of the first heats & the intensity of summer, a bit like once your base tan has settled, and High summer is the topping-up of the tan.
It is considered a time when the movement of the seasons seems to take a pause; like the pause of the path of a pendulum, it is a time to reflect on what the past few months has brought, and how to step lightly forward into the early autumn, embracing all the sensations and emotions that meet that turn.
Ok we're not there yet!

"TCM teaches us that summer belongs to fire, one of the five elements. Fire is symbolic of maximum activity or greatest yang, which means that it is a time of heat, outgoingness, and moving outward in nature and in our lives. In human anatomy, the heart, mind, and spirit are ruled by the fire element. Thus, top priority should be given to the heart, mind, and spirit for staying healthy in summer." acufinder.comIf you check out the website it has great foody tips.

And heres a poem!! Thanks Bill, loving your book.The Natural Pause

In any restful position
the more we can relax
and let go of our exhalation

the more a gap will start to appear
before the next breath comes in

and by being very attentive to
this spontaneous pause in our breath
w can tempt our body to slide
int deeper realms of relaxation

so releasing the out breath

resting into the gap that opens up beyond it

and waiting for the next breath to come

trying not to initiate it
or influence it
in any way

Just letting it come when its ready

and naturally.....
as we just relax
and watch.

"A Journey into being" Bill Wood.

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