Tap into these simple yoga poses to cool down your body and mind.
This summer it seems like no matter where you are, no one is escaping the oppressive heat. Whether you're used to it, or a newbie, we're all figuring out our own tips and tricks to thrive and survive. We all know that staying hydrated and moving at a slower pace can help, but what else can we do?
Give these 5 poses a try when the heat starts to feel like too much, whether you're inside or outside.
1. Sitali and Sitkari Pranayamas
Because Sitali and Sitkari pranayamas have an immediate cooling effect on your body, they can be a great way to open a warm weather practice, or just to cool down in the middle of the day. The Sitali variation is performed with a rolled tongue, and the Sitkari variation is performed with teeth together and lips open. Try both, and see what works for you!
1. Get comfortable Come to a comfortable seat where you can make sure your shoulders can melt away from your ears, your spine can stay long, and your belly can soften.
2. Settle your breath Take two or three deep inhales and exhales through your nose to prepare yourself .
3. Find the variation that works for you There are two variations of cooling pranayama that allow you to choose which works best for you!
For Sitali pranayama: Roll your tongue, curling the sides in towards the center
to form a tube. Allow the end of your tongue to poke out from between your
For Sitkari pranayama: Bring your upper and lower teeth to rest together and
open your lips as much as possible
4. Inhale slowly For Sitali, inhale through your rolled tongue as if sipping air through a straw. For Sitkari, inhale audibly through your closed teeth while keeping your tongue pressed to the backs of your teeth.
5. Exhale completely Close your mouth and exhale slowly through your nose.
6. Repeat To maximize the cooling effect of either pranayama, repeat at least 5-10 times.
Half Sun Salutation
A full Sun Salutation is performed to create heat in the body, but a half Sun Salutation can get your body and breath flowing without all the heat!
Stand for a moment in Tadasana, and notice the air moving around your body. Use a long inhale to reach your arms overhead and exhale to hinge at your hips and fold forward. Inhale to lengthen your spine for a half lift., and exhale to fold back in. Use a long inhale to rise to stand as you reach your arms back overhead, and exhale to return to Tadasana. Repeat 5 times.
Balasana (commonly known as Child's Pose) is a pose that you can come to at any point during your day or your yoga practice when you're feeling the heat or just plain overwhelmed.
Come to hands and knees (you can take a few rounds of Cat/Cow tilts here), and then bring your big toes toward one another, and take your knees as wide apart as feels comfortable. Sit your hips back toward your heels, and allow your head to come to rest either on the ground, or on a prop (bolster, blankets, or blocks). You can stretch your arms out long alongside your ears, or you can allow them to rest alongside your torso.
Forward folds can help release tension in the body that excess heat can often exacerbate. Baddha Konasana (often known as Butterfly Pose) can be particularly sweet as it allows for additional release in your hips and thighs as well as your spine and neck.
Come to a comfortable seat (you may want to sit up on a blanket to allow a little more ease in your spine) and bring the soles of your feet together. Your feet can be close to your, or you can move them farther away, so take a moment to find where you are most comfortable. Allow your chin to move toward your chest, and then begin to round your spine. Move slowly so you can find the fold that is just right for you. Pause in relative stillness for at least 10-15 breaths, and for as long as a few minutes. When you are ready to release the shape, use a long inhale to stack your vertebrae, and then bring your hands to the outsides of your knees to draw them back together.
Summer is the perfect time for long and restful Savasana and to try something new! Start by lowering yourself onto your back, and stretching your legs out long. Take your arms and legs farther away from your body than usual to allow air to flow more freely around you. Place a cool washcloth over your eyes. Place a dab of your favorite essential oil (lavender is great for calming body and mind) behind each ear.
Stay cool out there!
I hope that you found these poses as helpful as I do!
Leave a comment and share your favorite tips and tricks for staying cool!
I look forward to practicing with you this summer in person or online!
Register for classes at https://www.stephaniecottrellnm.com/book-online