5 Summer Solstice Yoga Poses

Fire up your confidence and willpower while you open your joints.

It’s no coincidence the International Day of Yoga, June 21, falls on the summer solstice. It's the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and the official start to summer, a time to be outside, soaking in the solar energy, and embracing the transformative powers of heat

In yogic teaching, there are seven chakras, or energy systems, and the summer solstice corresponds with the solar plexus chakra (aka manipura chakra). This particular one is the fiery, energetic core of the body associated with self-esteem, confidence, and willpower, so it makes sense that warm summer days offer the perfect opportunity to stoke that motivating heat.

“In the wintertime it is natural to go into postures of hibernation and regeneration such as curling up in a fetal position, or bundling your arms around yourself when walking down the street,” says Ariel Kiley, therapeutic yoga teacher and group fitness instructor at Equinox SoHo in New York City. “Opening poses are really great on long summer days; they let in the light, help air out your armpits, and open your joints.” Traditionally, twists, backbends, and core moves are ideal for solar plexus opening and strengthening. 

Step out of hibernation and into summer with these five poses. Practice them on June 21 and throughout the season, ideally outside, and begin with some aptly named sun salutations

Poses demonstrated by Robert Astalos, yoga instructor at various Equinox locations in Los Angeles