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Summer solstice marks the longest, lightest day of the year, and temperature conditions are just right for nature to unfold into full bloom.
As yogis, we can use the energy of the season to help us blossom, as well. You might find yourself feeling energized and playful as summer unfolds. It makes sense, as the longer days give us that extra boost for creativity and inspiration. There’s a sensation of joy and potential in the air. Much like Mother Earth, we’re feeling “in our prime” during these months. It’s an ideal time to frolic outside, enjoy the fresh air, and bask in gratitude for all we’ve been given.
As yogis, it’s not uncommon for us to be reverent of nature. With lush greenery, delicate wildflowers, and balmy summer nights, there’s undoubtedly something special about summer. This yoga sequence can help get you in the Solstice spirit and pay homage to Mother Earth. We recommend taking this practice to nature for an even deeper connection.
A summer solstice yoga sequence
Photo: Sierra VandervortSukhasana, variation (Easy Pose with Surya Mudra)
Start in a comfortable, seated position on your mat or in a chair. Create the mudra by drawing your ring finger in toward the base of your thumb. Then take your thumb and rest it on your ring finger. Make sure that the ring fingertip touches the base of your thumb and apply a bit of gentle pressure to these points. Keep your little finger, middle finger, and index finger extended. Continue to take deep breaths while holding the gesture. Notice your body temperature as you deepen your breath. You can stay here from 10–45 minutes.
Photo: Sierra VandervortFrom your seated position, bring the soles of your feet together to touch and allow your knees to release out to the side. Take hold of your big toes using your pointer and middle fingers. Inhale and sit up tall through the crown of your head. As you exhale, hinge from your hips, keep your spine long, and reach your heart toward your feet. Take 5–10 deep breaths as you release the tension around your inner hips and groin.
Photo: Sierra VandervortUtkata Konasana (Goddess Pose)
Make your way to standing, then turn to the side, facing the long end of your mat. Take your feet as wide as your hips, with your heel in and your toes pointed out at a 45-degree angle. As you breathe in, reach your hands up to the sky, spreading out wide through your chest and fingertips. As you exhale, bend your knees, guiding them out over the centers of your feet. Bend your elbows to create a 90 degree angle, and draw your thumb and pointer finger to touch, leaving all other fingers extended. Repeat these motions in time with your breath for five rounds of breath. Return to Tadasana.
Photo: Sierra VandervortFrom Tadasana, return to facing the front of your mat. Distribute your weight evenly through both feet and find a steady gaze forward. Shift your weight over to your right foot, staying lifted through your hips. Place your left foot to rest either on your right ankle, shin, or inner thigh.
Photo: Sierra VandervortFor a challenge, you can create a Half Lotus Pose leg variation: Draw your left heel into your right hip crease, dropping your knee down to face the floor. Bring your palms together at your heart center. Take 5 steady breaths here. Remember: It’s always OK to fall out and find your way back into any pose. Release slowly before repeating on the second side.
Photo: Sierra VandervortYou’ll need a block, bolster, or pillow for this pose. Release down to your back with your feet on the floor and knees up. Take your block and lift your hips off the ground. Place the block on its lowest level at the base of your sacrum, where your tailbone meets your hips. Draw your knees in toward your chest, then extend your legs, lifting your heels up toward the sky. For a more supported version, you could also do this pose at the wall. Take 10–15 deep breaths here. Release your knees back into your chest. Bring your feet back down to the floor and remove the prop from underneath you.
See also: Do Less, Relax More: Legs-up-the-Wall Pose
Photo: Sierra VandervortLie on your back. Release your arms by your sides and take your ankles to the corner edges of your mat. Let all your limbs be heavy and relax your breath. Stay still and rest for 4–10 minutes.
Photo: Sierra VandervortPadmasana (Lotus Pose)
When you’re ready, slowly emerge from Savasana, rolling over to one side and coming up to a seat. For full Lotus Pose, draw your left knee in toward your chest, flexing your foot. Draw your foot over to nestle into your right hip crease, keeping the foot active. Repeat on the second side, drawing the right foot in toward the left hip. For a modified version, you can take Lotus on one side or find Sukhasana (Easy Pose), seated with knees out to the sides and your ankles placed one in front of the other on the floor.
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