In many parts of the country, temperatures are on the rise. While it’s typically a slow time of year for yoga studios, I can’t imagine hot yoga studios staying in business during high-degree weather. Even though yoga is enjoyed best in a warm environment, the heat of summer brings thoughts of cooling off rather than sweating it out.
If you struggle with making it to yoga because the heat of day has you wishing you could fit in your icebox, try heeding the following yoga advice. The practice doesn’t always have to heat your body. It is possible to cool down with the right yoga practice.
As called in Sanskrit, shitali pranayama has got to be the number one yogic activity you can do when you are in need of lowering your body temperature. While it may not cool you off like jumping into a frigid lake, it will help assist your body with some evaporative cooling.
You can do this pose any time of day, and in any position. You can be standing or sitting while you practice. All you need to do is stick out your tongue, and if possible, roll it up like a taco. Breathe in through your mouth, dragging your inhale across your cool and humid tongue. Do you notice how this cools the air you are breathing in?
Tip: Imagine you are breathing in the color ice blue. Retain your breath (and the image of this cool color) for a few seconds before exhaling and repeating the breathing technique.
Reclined Starfish Pose
The purpose of this pose is to invite you to surrender to the heat. The reason for this is because, however subtle, resistance creates friction, and friction will add to your misery because it produces heat! In this pose you will allow yourself to feel the heat. Once you make amends with how hot you are, your body will begin to self-regulate and start cooling down.
To practice, lie on your back with your arms and legs splayed out to resemble a starfish at the bottom of the sea. Remain as still as you can, as any erratic movement will contribute to a higher body temperature. Breathe easily, or perhaps practice another round of shitali pranayama (cooling breath).
Yogis practice detaching from external conditions. Whether the thermometer is pushing 100 degrees or dipping below zero, your internal measurement is the one that should be most pleasant, and yoga can help bring you into a comfortable zone all year round.
July 23rd, 2013