I don’t know about you, but all I want to do is eat ice cubes and submerge myself in cold water. It’s been beautiful, and I wouldn’t change the sunshine for anything, and I’m grateful for the warmth and the nourishment of summer. I love being able to travel around London from class to class with just the clothes I’m in and my mat, instead of battling with my layers and navigating the thermal extremes of public transport. But the heat calls for a slightly modified practice to help us balance out all the fiery airy energy (Summer is the season of 

Pitta

- for more info see here 

http://bit.ly/1IP6VDQ

). I like to slow my sun salutations down, really savoring each posture, taking time to explore with the breath, and then I find that moving to a floor based practice helps me to feel energised and soothed, helping to clear some of the sluggishness that many people feel when the weather is hot.

For this month’s pose I have chosen 

paschimottanasana/ 

Seated forward bend. With the sit bones grounded firmly onto the earth, and the sensation of the body folding in on itself, the mind can quiet down from all the excitement and activity associated with summer months and dwell on inwards contemplation for a little while, helping to recharge us, cool us down, and prevent burn out.

  1. Start in Dandasana/ Staff pose (sitting up straight with legs outstretched). Some people find it helpful to sit up on a block if the hamstrings or hips are tight.
  2. Knees face up towards the sky, inner thighs draw gently down towards the floor, feet are flexed with the toes pulling gently back towards the face. Try and root the thighbones down and imagine the seat moving backwards so that the pelvis can tilt forwards.
  3. Inhale, and feel the breath ripple through the body causing the spine to extend and grow long.
  4. Exhale, draw the navel gently back towards the spine, draw the shoulders down, maintain as much length in the front of the body as possible and then fold down over the legs.
  5. Imagine you are hinging from your hips, trying to bring the belly to the thighs and the heart center towards the feet. Avoid rounding the spine.
  6. If you can reach the feet with the hands without rounding through the spine then take hold of the big toes with the peace fingers and fan the elbows out to the sides, encouraging the torso to slide forward and down the legs. If you can’t reach the feet, use a strap (or a belt or dressing gown cord etc.) around the balls of the feet and hold on to the ends.
  7. Play the edge of the stretch by pausing at the point where you begin to feel sensation in the backs of the legs, and sending your breath and attention to that area, then a few exhales later see if the muscles have softened at all, allowing you to fold a bit deeper. Keep exploring the posture by using the breath to find length in the spine as you inhale, and hinge further from the hips as you exhale.
  8. To come out, release the hold on the feet and as you inhale unhinge the body, sweep the arms above the head and lengthen through the spine, and then release.
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By Jasmine Pradhan from 

stretchandthecity.co.uk

Jasmine teaches Hatha yoga (sometimes dynamic, sometimes slower) with an open heart and an open mind. She believes that every individual already has the tools they need to achieve true happiness and wellbeing, and that sometimes they just need a little help discovering them. She truly believes that a dedicated yoga practice can be the key to that toolbox, and aims to facilitate that discovery for her students.

Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any new physical activity. Always practice under the supervision of a qualified teacher.

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