The heat of summer can often accelerate our mind and heat our bodies. It's important to pay attention to these sensations and incorporate a slower, more focused practice into our daily yoga routine. When your blood and your mind are already boiling from the quickening pace of summer activities, try to avoid the following poses as they tend to increase your body’s internal heat and may leave you a hot mess!
- Sun Salutations (One or two won’t hurt, but be aware that these are very heating.)
- Warrior Poses
Instead, practice these five cooling yoga poses. Try not to engage the muscles you don’t need and work to consciously relax your face. Keep a consistent breath and turn your focus inward.
Standing Heart-Opening Pose (Anahatasana)
In this shortened variation on Moon Salutations (Chandra Namaskar), the intention is to move slowly and with purpose and enjoyment.
Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) and inhale the arms overhead. Exhale to bring your hands to your sacrum. Lift through your heart as you begin to open the throat and tilt the head back. Breathe deeply for 3-5 breaths.
Standing Lunar Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
On an exhale, release your palms face up as you bow forward to the earth. Be sure the back of your neck is relaxed and your feet are rooted beneath you. Hang here for 5 deep breaths.
Flowing Half Squat (Sahaja Ardha Malasana)
Inhale to bend deeply through your right knee, releasing your right forearm to the mat as you extend your left leg long behind you. By now you're turned parallel on your mat. Keep your spine long and on an exhale, bend through the right knee to straighten through your left leg, releasing your left forearm to the floor.
Move side-to-side with fluidity, connecting each movement to your breath.
Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)
Straighten both legs and keep your feet parallel and wide on your mat. Inhale and take a half lift, with your torso long and fingertips to the floor. Exhale to yogi toe-lock your big toes with your two peace fingers, and you hinge at the waist to fold forward. The crown of your head may come all the way to the floor.
Full of surrender, wide-legged forward bends allow the back, neck and shoulders to completely release.
Puppy Pose (Anahatasana)
Lower to your knees and come to a tabletop position. Keeping your lower belly engaged, walk your hands long in front of you and release your heart toward the earth. Rest for 5 deep breaths.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Come to stand on your knees, keeping them about hips-width distance apart. Tuck your toes under to help you feel more stable. Bring your palms to your sacrum on an inhale, exhaling to press the palms into the glutes to push your hips forward and lift through your heart.
As you begin to bend back, lengthen through the throat. If this feels good, you can reach for the tops of the feet with the hands and energetically squeeze the shoulder blades together.
Hold for 3-5 deep breaths, and return your palms to your sacrum to help press you back up. Send your knees wide and sit back on your heels, taking a few moments of rest.
Camel pose is great for alleviating fatigue or relaxing mild anxiety. It's a juicy heart opener, and a deep stretch for the front of the body and even the hip flexors (psoas).
Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
Swing your feet out long in front of you and draw your forearms behind you, placing your palms just underneath of your glutes (face down).
Point through your toes and lift from the heart as you begin to open the throat to gently release the head back. Again, the crown of your head may come all the way down to the floor.
Ground your legs and hands into the mat while feeling the full inflation of the chest on each inhale.
Fish pose helps to reestablish your focus after all the hard work of your practice.