Cooling Yoga Poses To Help You Beat The Summer Heat
Our yoga practice should aim to bring us into a state of balance. This state of equilibrium leads to optimal health and wellbeing. In the heat of summer it’s important to focus on a yoga practice that will help to cool the body and calm the mind.
In terms of asana, forward bending postures tend to have a more calming and cooling effect. Back extensions on the other hand, tend to increase the heat in the body and invigorate our nervous system.
We’ve all come up with some weird and wacky ways to try cool our bodies down in Summer, before you experiment further, try rolling out your yoga mat and give the following poses a go!
Start in Tabletop position, press your hips back onto your heels. Release the torso in between thighs. Reach arms out in front, or soften the backs of your hands down beside the hips. Find what feels good.
From Tabletop position, step your right foot forward to the outside of your right palm. Stack your right knee above your right ankle. Inhale, press your palms down firmly to lengthen your spine and un-shrug shoulders. Stay for 6-8 breath cycles. If you find yourself hunching into your upper back and closing off the chest, place your palms onto a block.
Wide Angle Forward Fold
Start with feet out wide (approx. 3-4 feet apart), toes facing forwards and weight spread evenly into the foot. Take your hands to your hips, inhale lengthen torso and relax shoulders. Exhale, tilt forward from the hip crease, place your hands onto the mat beneath your shoulders. Release the crown of your head down, soften your torso, keep your thighs firm and legs strong. Stay for 6-8 breath cycles. Come up on an inhalation, leading with the chest and a straight and strong back.
Start with your feet hip width apart with the hands onto your hips. Press the sole of your right foot to the inner thigh or calf of left leg. Try to point right knee outwards but keep your hips square to the front edge of the mat and ensure pelvis is neutral. Relax your shoulders, keep spine tall and chest open. Place hands into Anjali Mudra at the heart centre or raise them up overhead. Stay for 6-8 breath cycles.
Start in Knee to Chest pose, lying on your back with your knees tucked in towards chest. Place your palms out beside you at chest height. Exhale, gently release your knees to the right hand side and take your gaze over towards the left. Keep your knees at hip level or above. Stay for 6-8 breath cycles, then repeat on opposite side.
Cooling Breath - Sitali
The word ‘Sitali’ in Sanskrit means "cooling.” This breathing technique helps to cool the body and calm the mind, perfect to practice in the heat of summer! You can learn how to practice this breathing technique here.
As you practice these postures try to keep a consistent, slow and steady breath, feel your way into the pose and settle your awareness inwards.