Summer Forward Folding Notes

Like my current teacher, John Schumacher, I design classes around the seasons. This part of my wellness philosophy is based on Ayurveda, India’s first medical system that has the same roots as yoga. Ayurveda adheres to the theory that universal elements of heat, cold, wetness, and dryness are best understood and managed as they exist both inside and outside of the human body.

Ayurveda teaches that each body has a primary constitutional element. Yoga offers poses that balance them.

It’s important to note that both the outer environment and our inner constitution cause our own individual mix of elements to be thrown out of balance.

Poses generally and forward folding postures specifically

We practice yoga ideally in the context of such other wellness practices as appropriate diet, sleep, and healthy lifestyle choices. Yoga poses stimulate certain conditions in the body, not just through the musculature but via its internal systems, helping it strengthen, lengthen, and detoxify. From here the body begins to establish a cleaner, clearer state of equilibrium.

In Summer, and in Washington, DC, in Summer, in particular, forward folding is essential for anyone practicing yoga. It is the act of muscularly condensing into the core, and through the vertebral muscles, for maximum possible spinal-relaxation awareness. Most other poses, and vinyasa classes nearly completely, are strongly heating. The body, and the mind, needs attention for cooling in Summer.

Points for core work

  • Begin to examine your practice and observance of mula bandha.

  • Understand, establish and maintain deep, hollow, and receding abdomen.

  • Balance between length, shape, and recession of abdomen, and the strength and tautness of the legs supported by steady, strong and engaged legs, including steadily lifting foot arches while the foot stretches, too, heel to toes.

  • Neck muscles soft, head passive. Do not cave into the chest. Sides of the trunk lengthening/abdominals working allows you to bend further forward. Surf gravity in the trunk. Don’t get washed over in the shoulder-blade region.


Kim Weeks