Beating the Summer Heat

It’s still HOT out there.  Here are some yoga perspectives on beating the heat naturally.

Hatha Yoga

HA means sun and THA means moon in Sanskrit, so all of hatha yoga is about balancing your energies.  The HA (solar energies) predominate in the summer. but there are many postures that will cool you down.  Sun Salutations will tend to make you hotter especially if you jump forward as part of the sequence.  This is a good time to take a break from that sequence.  Good postures to practice on hot days are the passive ones, like Legs up the Wall, supported easy backbends, like Arch Posture, with a block under the sacrum and legs up or Fish Posture with a pillow under the mid-back.  Either seated or standing Forward Bends are cooling.  Twists are also good for cooling, either seated or lying down.  Be sure to extend through the top of the head, lengthening the spine when twisting.  For further information see our calendar for the yoga class schedule.  A favorite class for many on the hottest days is Restorative Yoga, all passive lying-down supported postures, or Aqua Yoga, very cooling and relaxing.

Breath Work

Sitali pranayama, in which you sit and breathe in through the mouth as if you were sipping air through a soda straw, and exhale through the nose, is very cooling.  If you’re able, roll your tongue lengthwise for the inhale.  If you’re not sure how to do this, get directions from a yoga teacher.  One of my students said she used to do sitali with her young daughter when she had a fever and it would bring the fever down.

Single nostril breathing

Usually we do alternate nostril breathing as a technique to bring balance to the nervous system.  But on a very hot day, closing off the right nostril and breathing in and out through the left will activate the lunar energies, cooling and calming the system.  Repeat for 5 – 20 breaths.  Do not do this practice if depressed.  Only practice alternate nostril breathing in that situation.

Cooling foods

Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (preferably organic), especially those with high water content : melons, berries, leafy greens.  Emphasize light and cool foods, minimize cooking and baking.  Coconut water is very cooling to the body but may have a laxative effect.  Most people lose sodium and potassium when sweating a lot.  Drinking loads of plain water can make this situation worse.  Replacing potassium with an electrolyte-enhanced water can be helpful, which is why many athletes depend on Gatorade.  However, Gatorade has many artificial colors, flavors and chemicals.  Shaklee has a potassium chloride drink called Performance, currently being used bRosalie Maltery many Olympic hopefuls to boost their stamina and performance.  contact Rosalie for more information.

Enjoy your summer, and come back soon to yoga class!

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