How to: Sit up on the knees and shins. We recommend Virasana (with a block under the seat). Open your arms to the sides and turn the palms to face behind you. Weave the arms behind the back trying to get the palms to touch like a prayer.
Benefits: In Taoism, summer’s dominated by the fire element and the primary organ is the heart. With a secret prayer, your hands literally have your own back, allowing you to open across the front of the torso. The heart gets hot in the summer, so this is a great way to create ventilation and take some of that heat away. We recommend doing pranayama practices in this shape: Kappalabhati with a light flapping of the elbows (think the arms are like tiny wings!) or working Rudolph Steiner’s four part breath of the seasons (inhale for spring, inhale retention for summer, exhale for fall, exhale retention for winter).
How to: Start in Triangle Pose with your bottom hand on a block. Look down, place the block 1 foot in front of you and slightly to the right. Kick the back leg off the ground 90 degrees, parallel to the floor, hips open to the side. Reach the top arm up to the ceiling, look up at the top hand, straight forward or down to the floor for more balance.
Benefits: Half Moon is a great pose to feel energy reaching out in 4 directions at once, while balancing on one foot. It’s a very powerful and expansive pose. Summer is all about ripening and moving out into the world, and having a big presence. This pose doesn’t let you shy away from that, you have to feel the strength and dynamic energy of your entire being in order to stay stable in the pose.
How to: Find the weight steady in your left leg and take the right knee into the chest. From there, open the knee to the side and place the right foot on the inner left leg (above or below the knee joint, just not on the joint itself). Hands can be placed at a prayer in the middle of the chest and eventually you can lift the arms up alongside the ears.
Benefits: While it’s easy in summer to feel flighty and light, it’s important to still keep some sort of grounding through the season. Unlike a balloon which is spacey, a tree is spacious, it has both roots deep in the earth, and a lift up to the sky! Work to find the balance between the anchor of your standing leg, and then reach through the torso and arms.