It wasn’t five minutes after La Vie Boheme’s tribal printed yoga mats arrived in our office that we were unfurling them on the floor and in full Vinyasa flow. We knew we had to shoot these beauties in all their boho splendor – so we enlisted our Fitness Editor, Katie Horwitch, to create this perfect, grounding practice to match our new dreamy set of mats.
Find more about this tribal-inspired yoga mat set on Instagram today (we’re giving one away!), then take all that summer swelter and leave it on the floor with this balancing flow perfect for these draining days of square-on summer heat…
Keep in mind that different poses cater to different levels of flexibility: for poses like the splits and king pigeon, be sure you’ve had time to warm up (we love this flow class with Ali Owens of Udaya), and remember never to force anything. We’ve provided variations and modifications so there’s a little something for everyone.
To make your practice absolutely complete, find our gorgeous Koral Activewear bodysuit here – we know you’re flipping for this modern essential like we did! Flow on down – then find out how to enter our La Vie Boheme Yoga x TCM giveaway and score one of these divine mats for your own summertime practice. Here are our 12 favorite poses to keep you cool, calm, and collected as the weather gets warmer…
10 Grounding Yoga Poses For A Sweltering Summer
Why we love it: One of our favorite poses of all-time, Fish Pose lengthens the tiny intercostal muscles between the ribs, stretches and stimulates the front of the torso and front of the neck as well as their organs (hello, throat opener!), and strengthens the muscles of the upper back and back of the neck. It’s also a great way to improve posture!
How to do it: Lie with your back on the floor and feet out. Lift your pelvis slightly and slide your hands below your glutes, palms facing down. Rest your bottom down onto the backs of your hands, and tuck your forearms/elbows into the sides of your torso. press your forearms and elbows firmly against the floor. Press your chest to the sky and lift your upper torso away from the floor. Rest your head onto the floor, with the back of the head or crown touching the ground and very little weight on your head to avoid cramping your neck. If you feel any pain in your neck or throat, lower your chest slightly or put a folded blanket under your head for support.
Why we love it: This is the quintessential brain-clearing yoga pose. Child’s pose is known to help clear your mind and relieve the stress and fatigue of the day.
How to do it: Kneel on the floor, sitting on your heels with your big toes together knees about hips’ distance apart. Softly lay the front of your torso down and nestle between your thighs. Lay your hands alongside you on the floor or walk them forward. This is a resting pose – so breathe and rest!
Why we love it: This tiny backbend works wonders. It strengthens the muscles alongside the spine, and helps to relieve the lower back pain many of us are all too familiar with.
How to do it: Lie on your stomach, arms alongside your torso, palms up or in and your forehead resting on the floor. Turn your big toes slightly toward each other to inwardly rotate your thighs. Without cranking your neck up, lift your head, upper torso, arms, and legs away from the floor. Keep the back of the neck long. Hold for 30 seconds, then lower.
Why we love it: Bow Pose feels oh-so good. We practice Bow Pose to stretch out the entire frontside of our body and build strong back muscles. It’s also traditionally used to beat fatigue and anxiety.
How to do it: Lie on your stomach like you would to start Locus Pose. Making sure your knees aren’t wider than hips’ distance apart, send your knees and bring your heels as close to your glutes as you can. Reach back, keeping your knees aligned with hips, and grab your ankles. Lift your heels away from your glutes, which will pull your upper torso off of the floor. Press your shoulder blades into your back to get the sensation of opening up your heart, gaze forward and hold for 20-30 seconds.
Monkey Pose (Splits)
Why we love it: Monkey Pose, more commonly known as “The Splits,” should only be performed when hips are open and amply stretched. It is an amazing stretch for the groin, thigh, hamstring muscles that hold you up all day. Practice this one with caution, and only go down as far as your body allows with no pain or discomfort.
How to do it: Kneel on the floor with one foot forward and its thigh slightly outwardly rotated. Press your fingertips onto the floor and lean your torso forward. Slowly slide your grounded knee back, straightening the leg. At the same time, lower your front thigh toward the floor. Stop straightening the back knee when you find it is only at a slight bend (make sure it extends straight out from the hip, not at an angle), then begin to push the front heel away from your torso. Slowly and gently bring your torso to center so that the front kneecap is facing the sky, then continue to straighten the legs – always supporting yourself with fingers on the ground. To come out of the pose, press your hands into the floor and turn the front leg out slightly. Return the front heel and back leg to where you started. Repeat on the opposite side.
Why we love it: This pose is perfect for tight hips – it stretches the hip rotators and the hip flexors, meaning you’ll probably feel more supple throughout your day.
How to do it: Starting on hands and knees, place your hands directly below your shoulders and knees under your hips. Bring your right foot forward until it is next to (and on the inside of) the right wrist and your right thigh is parallel to mat. Slowly inch your right (front) foot to the left, until your foot is directly in line with your left hip. Straighten your left (back) leg toward the back of your mat. Keep your hips as level as possible, and slowly walk your hands out to fold forward, without resting your weight onto your elbows. Repeat on the opposite side.
One step further: To go into One-Legged King Pigeon, a very deep hip flexor stretch that also lengthens the torso, bend the knee of your back leg and raise your shin approximately perpendicular to the floor. Your body weight will naturally balance on the reclined front foot and back, bent knee. Slowly sit up straight and reach back with the same arm of your lifted leg to grab the outside of your lifted foot. Grab with the opposite arm if you’d like to add a twist into the mix (shown above).
Sage Pose (Seated Spinal Twist)
Why we love it: This seated spinal twist stretches out all the muscles along the spine – and because there’s a twist involved, it is highly detoxifying. Sage Pose massages your abdominal organs – especially stomach, liver, and kidneys – and is a great pose when experiencing digestive issues.
How to do it: Sit up straight with legs on the floor in front of you. Bend one knee and place the foot on the floor, heel as close to the right glute as possible. Pressing the foot on the floor and grounding your straight leg, rotate your torso towards the bent leg and hook the opposite arm onto the inside of the bent leg’s thigh. Press the fingertips of the other hand onto the floor to help you twist. Lengthen the spine on an inhale and twist deeper on each exhale. Keep your pelvis and sits bones as neutral as possible. Repeat on the other side.
Why we love it: Detoxifying twists once again, for the win! This twist is performed lying down and is like an internal massage for your digestive organs. Reclined spinal twists are oftentaught to compat fatigue, shallow breathing, and help your sensitive digestive system recoup after sickness or indulgence.
How to do it: Lie on your back with legs out. Draw one knee towards your chest while keeping the opposite leg grounded. On an exhale, lower the lifted leg, either bent or straightened, towards the opposite side of your torso. To relax the lower back and help keep the spine long, lift your hips slightly off of the ground and draw your tailbone toward your bottom heel. Keep your pelvis grounded and both of your shoulders on the ground – don’t worry if your leg touches the ground or not.
Variation: For an even deeper detoxifying twist, lift both legs up, shins parallel to the ground. Take one leg and cross it over the opposite leg, hooking your foot around the opposite calf. Perform the twist in this bound position, keeping spine long, shoulders grounded, and tailbone lengthening towards where your heels once were.
Seated Forward Bend
Why we love it: This gentle yet effective pose stretches the long muscles of the spine and gives your nervous system a relaxing, much-needed breather. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not about touching your toes – rather, it’s about the quality of the fold from your hip joint.
How to do it: Sit up straight with legs out in front of you. On an exhale, press your heels forward and fold over your legs, drawing your heart towards your feet and keeping your neck long and neutral. Make sure to fold from your hip joint and not your spine or waist – if you’re curling your spine, you’ve gone too far. A great option to ensure you are staying lifted through your heart is to use a block, like we did above.
Bound Angle Pose
Why we love it: Bound angle pose is a great stretch for the inner thighs, groins, and the knees. It also helps to relieve mild depression, anxiety, and fatigue.
How to do it: Sit with your legs straight out, sitting on a blanket if your hips or groin are tight. Bend your knees and bring your heels toward your pelvis. Gently drop your knees out to the sides and press the soles of your feet together, then “peel” your feet open (like you are reading a book). Exhale and lean your torso forward between the knees. Keep your spine neutral and be sure to bend from the hip joints, not the waist. Bend your elbows and gently push them down against the inner thighs.
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Why we love it: This pose take the benefits of bound angle pose to a seriously relaxing place. Known for its restorative benefits, this pose also helps alleviate menstrual cramps.
How to do it: Rest a block or bolster behind where your back will lay. Perform Bound Angle Pose without bending forward. Instead, rest your hands on your thighs as you slowly lower down onto the block (placed behind the heart) or bolster. For an added stretch in the groin, use a yoga strap looped around your feet from your hips (see above photo). The closer your feet to your groin, the deeper the stretch.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Why we love it: Who doesn’t love a good savasana? It calms the mind, helps relieve mild depression, reduces bouts of insomnia (especially on those hot summer nights when you find yourself tossing and turning), and relaxes the entire body into a blissful, meditative state.
How to do it: Lay down in a neutral position with your legs out and palms to the sky. Lengthen the back of your neck like an extension of your spine, then relax it down into the ground. Scan your body and soften your jaw, your hands, your feet, your eyes, your ears, and imagine yourself melting into the ground. Remain here for 3-5 minutes at least for full restorative benefits.
Variation: Roll a towel or blanket 3/4 of the way up, and place the rolled part under your shoulder blades. Rest your shoulder blades into the towel/blanket for added support and a slight heart opener.
Win Our #LaVieBohemeTCM Instagram Giveaway!
What You'll Win:
One lucky TCM reader will win the Bahar mat, pictured in our above grounding yoga shoot, from La Vie Boheme Yoga!
How To Enter:
The Fine Print:
This giveaway closes Friday, July 25th at 10 A.M PST. Open to US residents only. Our winner will be notified via Instagram and can contact us at [email protected] to receive their gorgeous new mat. Good luck, readers!