Looking for a way to invigorate yourself this summer solstice? Design yourself a summer solstice yoga session using our 19 summer solstice yoga poses chosen to light your fire!
The solstice also falls on International Yoga Day this year, so what better way to mark this long day of fiery energy.
In this article, learn
- What is the Summer Solstice and why it is special
- Why practice Summer Solstice Yoga
- 19 Summer Solstice Yoga poses to light your fire
What is Special about the Summer Solstice?
The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, and it marks a moment of peak energy in the annual cycle as the sun reaches its zenith in the northern hemisphere.
In 2023, the Summer Solstice falls on the 21st of June in the northern hemisphere, which is also International Yoga Day. It will occur on the 22nd of December in the southern hemisphere.
This day of maximum sunlight is a time to feed your personal energy to prepare yourself for the coming months and to burn off thoughts, emotions, and ideas that no longer serve you and may be blocking your path forward.
Learn more about the importance of the summer solstice here.
Design yourself a summer solstice yoga practice using these 19 Summer Solstice yoga poses to light your fire.
Summer Solstice Yoga: 19 Powerful Poses
The summer solstice yoga postures below have been chosen for a variety of different reasons. The list, which can be done in order, starts with Sun Salutations to invite the life-giving energy of the sun into your body.
There are poses to stimulate your digestive system to activate your Agni, which is central to the summer solstice yoga practice.In Ayurveda, the Agni is what allows you to burn off food and also emotions. There are hip openers to release stress and trauma and powerful postures to enhance self-confidence.
1. Sun Salutation A (Surya Namaskara A)
Start your summer solstice yoga practice with Sun Salutation A, which will warm up your body and invite fiery energy.
This is a sequence of movements that should be completed as a flow with one breath to move between each posture. Many of the poses in the sequence are energizing and ideal to awaken the digestive system in a summer solstice yoga practice.
Start in mountain pose, reach up to extended mountain pose, and then down to standing forward fold. Lift up the chest to a half-standing forward fold and then step or jump back to a high plank. Lower through low plank to upward facing dog and then downward facing dog.
Stay in this invert for three to five breaths before stepping or jumping back to the top of your mat and moving back through standing forward fold to mountain pose. Repeat as many times as you wish, but at least three times.
2. Sun Salutation B (Surya Namaskara B)
Complete your energetic entrance into your summer solstice yoga practice with Sun Salutation B, which includes more leg and hip opening movements.
Sun Salutation B is very similar to Sun Salutation A, except that you will move through a chair pose at the top of your mat and add two Warrior I poses at the end of the flow.
When you reach downward-facing dog, after holding this position, first stop your right foot between your hands and come up into Warrior I on the right for a breath before returning through a low plank and upward-facing dog to downward-facing dog.
Do the same on your left, and then return to the top of your mat. Repeat as often as desired, but at least three times.
Read our complete guide to Sun Salutation B.
3. Prayer Squat Pose (Malasana)
Prayer Squat Pose opens the hips and lower back, which can relieve stress and anxiety. The position also encourages acceptance of what is and hopefulness about what could be. This injects positive thinking into your summer solstice yoga practice.
Starting in a standing position with feet hip distance apart and feet turned out, bend down into a low yogic squat. Apply pressure to your knees with the tricep muscles to open the hips and allow the body to reach up tall. Hold for at least 30 seconds or longer.
4. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
Warrior II uses every part of the body to project strength while maintaining an inward sense of ease. It can ignite passion, stamina, and confidence under the long sun of the solstice.
Stand on the may with legs roughly three feet apart, the right foot parallel with the short side of the mat and the left foot parallel with the long side. With arms strong and open wide, lunge the left leg with the knee stacked above the ankle and turn the head to gaze out over the left hand. Hold for at least five breaths and then repeat on the right.
5. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
Triangle pose enhances flexibility in the legs, hips, and spine while promoting inner strength, emotional balance, and mental clarity. It can also detoxify and help you shed unneeded energy as part of your summer solstice yoga.
Start in the same position as for Warrior II, but with the right foot at a 45-degree angle to the mat. With arms open wide, reach your chest towards the left leg while shifting the hips backward. When you are at maximum extension, drop the left hand down and rest it on the leg or the floor. Open your chest towards the ceiling and reach the right arm upwards. Stay for at least five breaths and repeat on the other side.
6. Dancer’s Pose (Natarajasana)
This powerful balance requires you to be fully present in the powerful energy of the summer solstice while opening the chest.
Stand at the top of your mat and transfer your weight to your right foot and then bend your left knee up behind you. Take your left foot from the outside with your left hand and ensure your hips remain aligned to the front.
Reach your left thigh back and up while pushing away with your foot. Shift your chest and reach your right arm forward to counterbalance, and use the hand holding your foot to help open the chest. Stay here for at least five breaths before repeating on the other side.
7. Dolphin Pose (Catur Svanasana)
Dolphin pose is included in this list of summer solstice yoga poses because it is a strong elbow balance that strengthens the arms, core, and legs while relieving stress and anxiety.
Start in a tabletop position and then push your hands forward and lower your elbows onto the ground so that your shoulders are stacked on top of your elbows. Raise your hips up as you would in a downward dog position and try to achieve the same V shape with the elbows on the ground. Hold for at least five breaths.
8. Low Lunge with Arch Variation (Anjaneyasana)
This low lunge variation strengthens the hips and ankles while improving posture and also invites summer solstice energy into the heart and lungs.
Enter into a wide lunge position with your back knee resting on the floor. Push forward into the front leg, keeping the knee over the ankle and sliding the foot forward if needed. Ensure that your sacrum is pushing down towards the earth.
Raise both arms straight above your head with palms pressed into prayer position. As you lunge forward, open the chest towards the ceiling to create a backbend. Hold for at least five breaths before repeating on the other side.
9. Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)
Seated forward folds have a range of benefits, but when it comes to summer solstice yoga, we are interested in how it energizes the Manipura Chakra to enhance the flow of energy into the back of the body and promotes vitality.
From an easy seated position, stretch your legs out in front of you along the ground. Bend forward from the hips and take hold of the toes or wherever you cannot reach. Reach your forehead down towards your knees.
Inhale and exhale slowly and evenly in this pose. With every exhale, try to sink a little further into the forward fold. Hold for at least five breaths before slowly rolling back up to a seated position.
10. Boat Pose (Navasana)
Boat Pose challenges your abdominals and inner thighs while requiring you to focus on your breath awareness to maintain balance. This stimulates the Agni digestive system.
Sitting on the mat, find a point of balance on your sit bones and raise your legs up at a 45-degree angle with your toes pointed. In the full position, your legs should be straight, but you can also bend at the knees and keep the shins parallel with the floor.
Reach your arms upwards at the same angle as the legs with your palms open to the sky. Open your chest and look up and out before you. Hold for at least five breaths.
11. Seated Twist Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
This seated twist strengthens and lengthens the torso while massaging the inner organs. For many practitioners, it is a favored meditation position, especially during the summer solstice.
Seated on the floor, place your left foot close to your fight hip and then bend your right leg in front of you and place your right foot on the outside of your left knee. Lift up straight through your spine and then twist to the right.
Create a right angle with your elbow, and then use your right tricep to push against the knee and further open into the twist while keeping your spine aligned. Stay here for at least five breaths before repeating on the other side.
12. Half Pigeon Pose (Ardha Kapotasana)
Pigeon pose is a backbend and a hip opening that strengthens the pelvic floor, and spending time in the position boosts confidence during the summer solstice.
Starting in a kneeling position, slide the right knee forward and shuffle the right foot towards the left edge of the mat to push the shin forward as much as possible and open the hips. Extend your left leg back behind you and square your weight on top of your hips.
Open your chest to the sky with your fingertips on the ground near your hips for stability. Hold for at least five breaths and repeat on the other side.
13. Fire Log Pose (Agnistambhasana)
Fire Log Pose is a deep hip stretch, and this is where we hold pent-up stress and trauma. This posture can provide release as part of your summer solstice yoga and help you feel lighter as the days grow shorter.
From your easy seat, stack your left leg on top of your right, ideally both legs parallel to the front of the mat and your left foot hanging just beyond your right knee. If that is not accessible, move your left foot further down your right shin. Hinging from the hips, lean forward for a strong hip stretch. Stay here for at least ten breaths before doing the other side.
14. Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Camel pose stretches the spine, creates space in the back, and opens the chest, all of which grounds you while opening you to change and growth in the months following the summer solstice.
Come to a kneeling position at the top of your mat and place something underneath your knees if that is uncomfortable. Reach up through your spine and place your hands on the small of your back just above the hips. From here, hinge to open your chest to the sky and bend the back. Push forward with your hips to ensure they stay above your knees.
If you are comfortable in this position, release your back and let your hands take hold of your heels as you further curve the spine. Stay here for at least five breaths.
15. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
Bow pose channels the power of a taut bow ready to be unleashed on the world. This reflects the sun at its zenith during the summer solstice.
Lying on your stomach, bend your knees so that your heels come towards your glutes. Reach behind you and take hold of the outsides of your feet. When you are ready, lift up your legs and your chest to create a bow. You can pull away with your legs to further lift your chest. Stay in this position for five breaths.
16. Peacock Pose (Mayurasana)
Peacock pose is the oldest recorded non-seated yoga pose and was described as the eradicator of all sin. It places pressure on the abdomen, which stimulates digestion.
Starting in a hero kneeling position, place your hands on the floor in front of you with your fingers facing towards you. Bend forward and place your forehead on the ground, closing your elbows beneath your body. Rest your chest on your elbows and extend your legs behind you, keeping your weight on the balls of your feet.
If you can manage this, slowly bring your weight forward, and tensing your abdomen and legs, lift your legs up off the ground and high as possible. Hold for five breaths.
17. Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
This supine backbend is a heart opener that releases stress and can free the neck. It is an advanced pose to explore during your summer solstice yoga practice.
Lie flat on the floor with your legs extended and your arms extended beside you with hands facing down. Arch your chest upwards towards the ceiling and place the top of your head on the ground behind you. Press through your hands to further open the arch and support yourself. Stay here for five breaths.
18. Reclined Hand-to-Big Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)
This reclining hamstring stretch activates the Root and Sacral Chakras and requires you to remain grounded while keeping the body active. Remember that the abdomen and bottom leg should be as active as the raised leg.
Lying flat on the ground, bring your left knee into your chest and take your left big toe in your left fingers. Extend the left leg upward, extending and opening the legs as much as possible. Keep the bottom leg active and extended. Hold for five breaths and repeat on the other leg.
19. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
End your summer solstice yoga practice with Savasana to integrate the changes that you have made during your practice.
Read our guide to how to do Savasana for the maximum benefit here.
BONUS: Summer Solstice Meditation to complement your Summer Solstice Yoga
Meditation lies at the heart of yoga, and is a powerful way to practice the sixth and seventh limbs Dharana and Dhyana in the eight limbs of Yoga. Try this Summer Solstice Chakra Meditation to complete your Summer Solstice Yoga practice.
You can also combine your summer solstice yoga practice with other summer solstice rituals designed to harness the powerful energy of the solstice sun to enhance your energy.
Try a sunrise meditation, gratitude journaling session, sacred bath, or a midsummer flower cleansing ritual.
Summer Solstice Yoga Poses: Concluding Thoughts and Tips
Embrace the radiant energy of the summer solstice and International Yoga Day by crafting your own invigorating yoga session with our curated selection of 19 poses.
Let this day be a celebration of inner fire and rejuvenation as you connect with the powerful energy of the sun and find balance within yourself.