Every season of the year feels different inside and out. Just as my yoga practice feels different each day, our bodies alter based on the sky, moon, stars and energy around us. This summer in particular my yoga has been soft. The idea of “power yoga” seems icky. Straight up, noppity nope. But why? It’s hot outside, I’m on summer break, there are other yogis around me for once and I’m not dancing my butt off so my energy should be there. Well, those are all of the reasons I haven’t been doing “power yoga” this summer. Below I’ve highlighted how I’ve been using yoga to “not yoga” according to popular western standards.
-It’s hot outside and my dominant dosha is pitta*. Fire increases fire and heat just makes me f****** angry. So instead my pranayama practice is Sheetali, or cooling breath. Starting in an easy sitting position, find your easiest pranayama. Then curl your tongue to make a U shape and inhale through the mouth for a count of 4. It should feel niiiiice and cool. Exhale through both nostrils for a count of 8. Increase second in:out to 5:10, 6:12, 8:16 if you would like. Repeat up to 5 minutes.
-I’m on summer break! …From a job that beats my (pitta) body to an exhaustive pulp. Being a dance and yoga instructor for teens who require a pretty energetic practice has left my body wanting to hide in a cold, moist, dark corner. Keeping my pitta in balance while kapha dosha wanted to engulf my body has been hard, really hard. To combat my Snorlax-like kapha tendencies I increased my pitta by jumping in new activities and communities like ecstatic dance and mantra meditation that wouldn’t require so much of my body energy. Then I increased my vata by setting a summer schedule that, even lasting 5 weeks, kept me waking up early, eating fresh food and keeping myself stimulated. Lastly, I balanced my kapha through service for others. I volunteered teaching yoga and expressive movement and pulling weeds in the canyons. The bulk of my summer was in balance because I could foresee that my body was ready for a BIG Snorlax-sized kapha swing, which would only make returning to work in the fall that much harder.
-There are like-minded people around so I should go hang out with them! Yes! This was fun for a bit BUT it also pushed me way out of my vata routine. On Sunday I wanted to go to Sunday sitting zen meditation, Mantra meditation, Buddhist gathering, Park Silly, Ecstatic dance and brunch. Oh! and camping/backpacking whenever a weekend was “free.” When I tried to take turns between all of these things I quickly stopped going to all of them. I made great connections and left them hanging. Looking back, had I been more assertive with balancing my vata, I would have strengthened a few good connections rather than becoming a one-timer.
-I’m finally not dancing, therefore, I should have all this energy! Wrong-o. Who knows how long my pitta has been in overdrive, forced to keep my energy high but now that I’m out of lightspeed, my body feels ready to drift aimlessly. As I mentioned before I couldn’t let this happen or pitta would only manifest as anger or misguided energy.
Phew. What a summer it has been to navigate my doshic constitution and pay close attention to my balance in and out. This has been a summer of gratitude and learning for a wiped out teacher. Now I’m feeling (almost) ready to jump back into classes!
*My studies on Ayurveda source from online and Bodhi Yoga in Provo, UT.