Spring and summer meant one thing when I was performing. Summer stock. For those of you who may not know what in the heck summer stock is I will explain. You are usually cast at a theatre for 3 to 4 months in which you will perform in 4 to 5 shows. It is an incredibly hectic schedule as you are performing one show in the afternoons and evenings and at the same time rehearsing the next show you will be opening. Days are long and at times physically and mentally grueling, but honestly I loved working under these conditions. You had to make quick decisions about your characters and face your fears on a daily basis about your strengths and inadequacies as an actor. It was always a time of self-discovery for me that I truly treasured.
My main problem with summer stock was that you were always dropped into the middle of a Bikram Yoga wasteland. And not just a Bikram Yoga wasteland – a yoga wasteland. The towns in which summer stock usually occur are smaller and far away from what one would consider a city. If there was a coffee shop and a grocery store within walking distance you were lucky.
But to be completely honest during this crazy summer schedule I probably would never make it to class anyway. And it wasn’t like I wasn’t getting any physical activity. A normal day for me would start with a 3 to 5 mile run before I went to rehearse where I would then end up dancing in 3-inch heels for another 4 to 6 hours. And eventually the summer would come to a close and I would go back home and back to my regular Bikram practice.
Let’s face it though. We all have the tendency to back off a bit from our regular yoga practice in the summer. Who wants to spend more time in the heat when it feels almost as hot outside? And isn’t this the time to take advantage of the incredible weather in which we can run, bike, swim, walk, hike and climb outdoors?
But no matter how much physical activity I put my body through – it was not yoga. When I would come back from a long summer away I could feel the toll it had taken on my body – the tightness of the joints and muscles, the strength I had lost, as well as, the flexibility I work so hard for. And it would take at least a month to get the focus of my practice back on track.
Now that I no longer perform and spend my time teaching Bikram Yoga I understand the benefits of practicing throughout the summer months on a much deeper level. These are the months your practice will develop the most. Don’t believe me? Consider the following:
- In the warmer months ahead, your muscles, joints, and ligaments will already be nice and warm when you enter the studio, which will in turn make you feel more flexible and able to go deeper into the postures than in the cold winter months, thus taking your practice to a new level.
- Bikram Yoga will help to increase your strength, stamina, balance and coordination so you can fully enjoy all of your summer activities.
- This yoga insists you stay well hydrated and that you replenish your electrolytes regularly, helping you to continue to take care of yourself in the best way possible throughout the spring and summer months.
- The summer heat can make you feel slow and sluggish. This is one of the main reasons the hot room can feel like the last place on earth you will find your energy. But this yoga fills your “gas tank” increasing your oxygen intake and balancing the systems of the body so you can take these warmer months by storm.
- You will decrease your chance of injury from your other outdoor activities. Your yoga practice help ward off distress from overexertion and overuse most commonly found in runners, cyclers and swimmers.
- Don’t lose all of the headway you made in your practice throughout the winter. Practicing at least 2 to 3 times a week will help you to at least maintain the range of motion, flexibility, and strength you worked so hard for.
So don’t pretend you’re in a Bikram Yoga wasteland this summer – you probably aren’t. Try and make it to the studio to take care of yourself. For that is what this practice is truly about. Taking care of yourself for 90 minutes in order to fully enjoy every moment of your life and the people who mean so much to you. Let’s make this a memorable spring and summer where we turn up the heat on our practice to turn up the volume of our lives….