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In the midst of mid-summer heat, it can be difficult to find the motivation to exercise. For many of us, working out is the last thing we want to do. Not only are there plenty of summer activities to keep us busy, but also the hot weather can cause lethargy in the body, making you feel fatigued and disinclined to push. It's ok to give yourself a break, but remember: a little is better than none at all! One of the great things about practicing yoga is that you can reap benefits from just about any amount of effort. Even those of us who wilt in the hot weather can claim the benefits of a short and sweet yoga practice without going all out each day.
Even if working up a sweat is not in the cards for you on a given day, downward facing dog is a wonder pose. Working up to holding it for several minutes is relatively gentle on the body, but can give you amazing benefit. For yoga newcomers, this pose certainly feels like a lot of work. I promise you that with practice, it can become delicious, even restful! The inversion (any pose in which your heart is lower than your hips) serves to rejuvenate the mind, and the stance builds strength in many areas of the body, including in particular the shoulders, abdominals, and hamstrings.
Even in the hot weather, your body needs a chance to warm up. If you're engaging in a quick practice, it's important to ease into downward facing dog rather than springing right in. To begin, take a few moments in child's pose. Settle your breath and establish your downward facing dog arms by walking the hands out in front of you until the arms lift off the ground. Spread your fingers wide and press down from each knuckle. ... Continue
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