Summer brings all kinds of beauty and wonder into our lives. It’s easy to be grateful for Nature in full bloom, longer days, and extra time to spend with loved ones. Fire energy is at its peak, and the world is charged with activity and light. Who doesn’t love rolling out their mat on a beautiful day and breathing in the sunshine?
Summer brings an abundance of heat, which means many of our yoga sessions unintentionally turn into hot yoga classes. Then, even the simplest of flows have us sweating more than normal.
If yoga teaches us anything, though, it’s how to be in touch with our bodies and accept the world around us. Through yoga, we can actually find ways to cool ourselves through our practice. Your next practice doesn’t have to be a sweat fest. Try some of these practices!
Cooling Breaths (Sheetali)
This is one technique that can enter any practice you do this Summer. Hold your tongue outside of your mouth and curl it like a straw (if you can). Inhale for four breaths through the mouth, sucking air into your lungs. Exhale for six counts through the nose. The moisture on your tongue cools the air and brings it into the body. Focus on the cool sensation and you’re on your way to a calm and cool practice.
There’s nothing like a yin practice to stretch and relax the muscles. By focusing our gaze inward, we can really connect to the body and spirit. We become comfortable with the heat, and appreciate it’s warmth and ability to reinvigorate us and stretch our muscles.
This article in Yoga Journal, written by our faculty member Danielle March, has some great cooling yoga poses that you’ll find are just the right thing you need this Summer.
Some may see electric fans as noisy or distracting elements of a practice, but put to good use, fans can actually be a great way to focus on the body. Treat the breeze from a fan as if it’s a gust of wind and notice the cooling effect it has as it blows at regular intervals throughout your practice. Notice the difference of the air of a fan during the beginning of a practice vs. midway through vs. the end. As you sweat and gain heat, perhaps gratitude for the air and cooling sensations will change.
Juice/ Beer/ Beverage Yoga
There’s debate out there whether yoga should involve beverages of any kind. If you are focusing inward and really enjoying the process of drinking your beverage, and noticing the effect on your body, you may find a new appreciation for food and drink in your everyday life.
But who knows? Maybe at your next barbeque or outdoor event you’ll get a kick out of drinking your beverage like a yogi, keeping you cool and calm in all aspects of your life.
This is one of the most playful forms of yoga. It’s usually too cold for this during our Conference, but indoor SUP offered by Karma SUPtra and Surfset is a great practice for the real thing.
The added challenge of balancing on water increases focus and flow. Plus, you’ll have to accept your inevitable fall into the water, something sure to cool you down on a hot summer day!
There’s outdoor SUP classes happening in Toronto and elsewhere if you know where to look. Or think about investing in a board and bringing it out to a lake or cottage. It might just be your new favourite kind of yoga!
What yoga techniques are you using to stay cool this Summer? Let us know in the comments or by reaching out to us on social media.