5 Reasons to Practice Yoga This Summer

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I love the lazy days of summer! I love summer vacations, juicy fruits, and even the sweltering heat! Most of all, I love the perception that it's a time to slow down and enjoy life! A lot of people think of summer as a good time to catch up on their reading, spend more time soaking up the sunshine, and get some much-deserved relaxation. It's also a great opportunity to spend more time on your mat and meditation cushion.

Here are 5 simple reasons to practice more this summer.

1. Look better at the beach. I'm not talking about weight loss here, but no matter what your size, practicing yoga will increase your muscle tone.

2. Feel better at the beach. Practicing yoga poses helps build self-confidence as you realize that you are capable of things you never thought possible. I can think of no time when self-esteem is more necessary than when you're wearing skimpy, summer clothing!

3. It's better than ice cream. An ice cream cone is the epitome of a summer treat. After all, what could be better than something cool and creamy on a hot summer day? For a yoga enthusiast, an hour or two on the mat is an equally refreshing treat. (Although, it might not be as effective at cooling you down.) Yoga can definitely lift your spirits and enjoy life in the present moment, similar to ice cream but with fewer calories.

4. Put it all into perspective. As easy as it is to get hung up on how we look on the outside during the summer months, yoga and meditation can help us bring our attention to the internal instead. For me, it helps me to turn my focus away from things that don't really matter (like whether or not I look like a supermodel in my bathing suit) and on what's really important in life--like what kind of person I want to be, and where I should be using my energy.

5. Celebrate your independence, too! Everyone loves the 4th of July! Whether you spend it grilling with friends, visiting family, or gathering the kids together to watch fireworks, it's always fun to celebrate our country's independence. It also reminds me that feel like I've gained a lot of personal independence through my yoga practice. I'm freer from stress, anxiety, and expectations--that's really something to celebrate!