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Get Relief From the Summer Heat With These Yoga Poses


Anyone who has ever been to a yoga class can tell you about the benefits of yoga for your mind, body and spirit. In fact, I could wax poetic all day long about how calm, centered, grounded, relaxed and blissed out my practice makes me.

Mostly, I love how customizable yoga is. From day to day, I can use my practice to deal whatever pops up in my life. Now that summer in full swing, my daily complaints seem to have a lot to with how hot and sticky it is and how that tends to make me a bit grouchy. Enter my yoga practice once again.

Did you know there’s yoga to help cool you off? Just like there’s yoga to help you get heated, there’s also yoga to help you manage the effects of the summer heat — such as irritability, anxiety and digestive issues. But it’s not just a summer practice. A nice cooling practice can also be very useful when you’re angry, feeling overheated during a workout, experiencing hot flashes or in need of a little energy boost.

Now I know what you’re thinking, the poses you do in class usually generate a bit of heat. I agree. Typically, when we think of yoga here in the United States, the poses and sequences we practice in classes — known as asana — are what come to mind.  But even though it may seem like asana is the bulk of what yoga is, it’s really only one of the eight limbs of yoga. Yoga offers many tools to help you keep your cool.

Keep Your Cool With Breath

Pranayama — the fourth limb of yoga — is the practice of consciously using your breath to expand your energy and vitality. When we breathe, our bodies take in life-sustaining oxygen — our life force or prana. So, the idea is that if you can mindfully manipulate and expand your breath, you can change how energy moves in your body.

Sound a bit strange? Give one of the techniques below a try on a hot day and I promise you’ll be a believer. These simple breathing exercises not only cool your heels when the temperatures rise, they also have a cooling effect on your mind when it’s feeling a bit overheated.

A word of caution: don’t do these techniques while inhaling cold air as that can aggravate the lungs.

Sitali. This one is for those of you who can curl your tongue.

  • Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes.
  • Stick out your tongue slightly and curl the sides of your tongue upwards then close your lips gently around your tongue forming an “O” shape.
  • Take a deep breath into your belly through your mouth like you were drinking through a straw.
  • Close your mouth and exhale out through your nose.
  • Continue for 2 to 3 minutes.

Sitkari. If you don’t have the genes to curl your tongue (like me), no worries — try this one instead.

  • Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes.
  • Bring your teeth together lightly but keep your lips separated as you pull your cheeks into a smile.
  • Place the tip of your tongue gently against the back of your bottom teeth.
  • Inhale slowly through your teeth — this will make a hissing sound.
  • Close your mouth and exhale out through your nose.
  • Repeat 10-20 times.

Poses to Help You Cool It

Summer is when the elements of Fire and Air rule. So to balance out all that hot air, you’ve gotta tap into the Water and Earth elements with poses like Half-Pigeon, Bound Angle, Cat/Cow and Standing Forward Bend. These cooling poses will calm your nervous system without causing your body to generate more heat in the process.

Another favorite of mine is Lion’s Pose, because there’s nothing like a good roar to release all that pent-up heat and frustration.

  • Kneel down with your knees slightly separated. Bring your big toes in close together and sit back on your heels.
  • Place your hands on the floor in front of your knees with fingers pointed back toward your knees and wrists facing forward.
  • Take a full breath in as you lift your head up.
  • Then, stick out your tongue as far as you can and exhale forcefully out your mouth while making a “HA” sound. Think about exhaling all the sensations that are making you feel crappy. Repeat up to 5 times.

What are some of the ways you keep your cool when the weather (or life) heats up? —Alison

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1 Comment
  1. Shally says:

    This is very relevant information. I had recently tried Hot Yoga to lose some weight and now i am going to try these yoga poses to cool off!

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