As soon as the weather starts to warm, Bikram gets to be a challenge for me. I’ve been whining for months about the lack of sun and warmth, so when they finally appear I’m so ready to be out in it that the thought of being inside, anywhere, sounds plain yucky. On top of my psychological freakiness, I also find Spring a particularly difficult time to practice physically. My body goes from being a (relative) rock star to a noodle. I recognize that I’m not always going to be Super-girl, but I wish I didn’t have quite so dang many Droopy Dog days.
Spring and summer challenge your practice in many ways – vacations, kids back on the scene, relatives in town, and the pull of lazing in the sun. But these days are actually a great time to keep chugging along. Because it’s hot outside, your body is more flexible and better adjusted. You’re sweating more naturally, so the increased release of toxins adds more benefits. Summer is often hectic, and finding time for quiet meditation can be a challenge.
Accept the heat
It’s steamy outside. The last thing you want to do is step into the hot room when what you’d rather be doing is sucking up the AC. But here’s the deal – practicing Bikram shows your body how to deal with the heat outside by teaching it how to deal with it in class. Many people report a decreased discomfort (with St. Louis heat, we can’t actually use the word comfort) with heat after beginning a Bikram practice because they learn what hot really is and how to calibrate their physical and emotional reaction to it.
Make it a priority
One of the biggest pulls of summer is a laissez faire kind of life. I love the idea of things just popping up; the go-with-the-flow, no reservation necessary-ness of it all. But really, after a few weeks I get kind of antsy. Counter the urge to go free willy by making a health practice plan and sticking to it. It may be the ONE thing you’re putting on a calendar, but it will be worth it.
Summer means the opposite for many of you. You have camps to schedule, vacations to plan, and a slew of guests to accommodate. Your planner becomes your BFF this time of year. All the more reason to put yourself on the list. Drop the kids at camp, show your guests how to use the remote, and treat yourself to some much-needed YOU time.
What is it about summer that makes us slack off on goals? They’re all the rage at the New Year, and have a brief rebirth in the Fall, but for now they’re a distant, annoying memory. Be the best you this season and set a new goal. Try a thirty class challenge, conquer a pose, or set your sights on being the stillest yogi in the room. Or, put your awesome imagination to use and create your own goal and challenge everyone else.
Shake it up
Always hit a morning class when the kids are in school? Or maybe the evening classes are your go-to because of work. Take advantage of the differing schedules of kids and work to seek out new classes. You’ll meet new people, practice with different energy, and challenge your body to accept the time change.
Remember, new seasons require an adjustment in your hydration and nutrition. Your body always needs nutrient rich foods and electrolytes, but with the increase in heat and humidity, you’ll need to keep your eye on them. If you need help with specifics, talk to one of the instructors. They’re happy to fill you in!
For me, summer is the most wonderful time of the year, and a fantastic time to continue with my practice. This little slump I’m in is really just my body adjusting. Looking at it that way, I can keep on keeping on, as JJ says, waiting with patience for the new place this change takes me.