Cool off this summer with yoga, meditation, and breathing techniques to help you stay focused, healthy, and happy.
Summertime means different things for different people—vacations, the beach, and just relaxing out in the backyard. However you view summer, for most of us, one thing is constant: it’s hot. Sometimes really, really hot and muggy. We’ve got five ways to keep you calm, cool, and collected this summer.
Five Yoga Tips to Cool Off This Summer
From a yoga practitioner’s point of view, summer is part of change. One season flows into another, with each one bringing its own set of changes. A yogi looks at the changes and acts by doing some best practices to ensure the body and mind stay fit.
#1: The Secret is in Your Breath
The next time you’re waiting for a bus or have a few minutes before you rush out for the day, try the Sheetali pranayama.
- Stick your tongue out and curl the sides of the tongue upward towards the center of the tongue.
- Breathe in through the mouth, hold the breath, and slowly exhale through the nose.
- Repeat five to 10 times.
You’ll find your body temperature cooling down.
Another option is Sheetkari pranayama:
- Close the right nostril with your right thumb.
- Exhale completely through the left nostril and then breathe in through the left nostril.
- Close the left nostril with your little ring finger and exhale through the right.
- Repeat five to 10 times.
#2: Drink Up
The more you hydrate yourself, the better. With 70 percent of your body made up of water, staying hydrated is super important.
#3: Calm the Nerves
When the temperature is hot outside, we’re more likely to lose our tempers and get impatient and tired. That’s where Chandrabhedi steps in. This breathing technique has a cooling effect on the nervous system and on the nadis (subtle channels of energy).
- With your mouth open, clench your teeth and press the tongue against the teeth. Breathe in.
- Close your mouth and breathe out normally through the nostrils.
- Repeat five to 10 times: inhaling from the left and exhaling from the right.
After the pranayama, lie down in Shavasan (Corpse pose). It’ll relax and refresh you.
#4: Slow Down on Yoga Poses
Yoga poses practiced gently and meditatively balance the mind and body and are beneficial at any time of the year. Shavasana and meditation are especially good in summer.
Any physical activity increases body temperature. That is why it’s best to avoid excessive or strenuous asanas when it is extremely hot. Early in the morning or late in the evening are the best times to practice yoga postures during summer. Pitta-type people should avoid fast-paced yoga poses. If the temperature is very high, avoid brisk breathing techniques like Kapal Bhati and Agnisara.
#5: Swear by Shavasana
After a long day, do you want to unwind in the evening? Lie down in Shavasana near a wall – with your feet touching the wall. Raise your legs and rest your feet on the wall. After holding the posture for a minute or two, bring the legs down and rest in Shavasana. You’ll find this yoga pose refreshing and restorative. How does this work? Since the heart is pumping out more blood, when the temperature is high, this yoga pose helps the heart by returning more blood back to the heart. (Here we use gravity to bring the blood back to the heart.)
Caution: Those with high blood pressure and back problems should avoid this yoga posture. An easier alternative to this pose is to pile up some pillows and rest your feet on them.
Based on inputs by an Sri Sri Yoga teachers: Kishan Verma, Dinesh Kashikar and Kaushani Desai, Ayurvedic Cooking teacher.
Yoga practice helps develop the body and mind bringing a lot of health benefits, yet is not a substitute for medicine. It is important to learn and practice yoga techniques under the supervision of a trained Sri Sri Yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga techniques after consulting a doctor and a Sri Sri Yoga teacher. Find a Sri Sri Yoga course at an Art of Living Center near you.