Yoga in the summer means more sweat, but it also means a hotter fire burning under our skin. After an intense workout, your body needs to cool down. So what better way to cool off than with more yoga? Let’s look at a few poses and breathing techniques you can use to beat the heat this summer.
Cat/Cow is a gentle flow between two poses that often opens or closes a yoga practice. It stretches the back and neck and stimulates your abdominal organs, kidneys, and adrenal glands. Paired with deep breaths, these poses relieve stress and bring your body back to a calm, relaxed state.
For even more cooling effects, take a deep breath in while curling into cat, then perform lion’s breath (which is a technique where you breathe out of your mouth with your tongue out) when you move into cow. Find instructions and visuals for Cat/Cow on our blog post for Thanksgiving yoga poses.
A great restorative pose is reclined goddess. It opens your hips and relaxes your muscles after a yoga session (or after a long night’s sleep or a day at the desk). Not only does it relieve the stress placed on your muscles throughout the day, but it also calms a racing mind.
To get into reclined goddess pose, lie on your back with your knees bent and pointing towards the ceiling. Then, gently drop your knees down to either side of the mat, bringing the soles of your feet together. You can lay your hands in a T shape, above your head, or down at your sides. Stay in this pose for 5 minutes, focusing on your breath.
During yoga (and everyday life, really), our back muscles and spines get pushed to their limits. Relieve some of the tension left in your back and spine with a supine twist. It stretches the back muscles and realigns the spine. Find out how to achieve this pose here.
A popular breathing technique in yoga studios for cooling down the body during the summer months is sitali breathing. After a rigorous practice, your internal heat is blasting. Sitali breath can bring your body back to a balanced state.
Practice sitali breathing by coming to a seated position with your legs crossed, shoulders back, and hands resting on your thighs. Roll your tongue into a tube, and inhale deeply, as if your tongue is a straw and you’re sipping air through it. If you cannot roll your tongue (thanks, genetics!), you can purse your lips into a small “o” instead. After inhaling fully, close your mouth and exhale slowly through your nose. Repeat this breathwork as many times as you want but shoot for at least five times.
Any good yoga session ends with a final relaxation pose, and savasana is commonly that resting posture. It draws focus inwards and gives your body and mind time to absorb the yoga practice you just did.
With this pose, you lay flat on your back with your arms and legs spread apart. Once you’re here, check in with each muscle group, releasing any tension you may be holding. Start at your feet, then work your way up to your face. When your body is fully relaxed, stay in this position for five to ten minutes.
Once the time is up, slowly come out of this position by wiggling your fingers and toes then curling onto one side. Take a few breaths in a fetal position before sitting up.
If you’re struggling to stay fully relaxed during the time you’re in savasana, focus your mind on something specific, such as relaxing each of your muscle groups individually or a sound you hear outside your window. With time and practice, you’ll be an expert at calming a racing mind and finding deep relaxation in savasana.
Cooling Down after Yoga
Summer is the time for heat – both outside and in your yoga practice. Igniting your inner fire is a great way to seize the day and become a stronger person. But you need to rest as well. So cool down with these five poses and breathing techniques.
For more yoga secrets and practices, sign up for a Yoga Teacher Training program at Health Yoga Life. Even if you’re not sure you want to become a yoga instructor, you can still grow for your own practice. Have questions? Contact us today!