Yoga Poses to Help You Cool Off
It’s been close to 90 in the city these past few days and wow I can really feel it, especially being 9 months pregnant! If the summer heat is starting to get you down, try these yoga poses to help you cool off.
Lion’s Roar—this pose will help cool off a hot body and a hot head. Sometimes the summer heat makes us just want to scream, so go ahead! Start in a kneeling position, and inhale a deep breath as you pull your fists towards your belly as you round your back. Exhale, come up on to your knees, fling your arms out to your sides and stick out your tongue as you make a load roar. Gaze up towards your forehead and really let it all out. Dogs pant when they get overheated, so we can do the same thing in yoga. When you breathe out through your mouth, you let go off hot air and cool off.
Pigeon—Anytime our forehead touches the earth, we get a cooling sensation. Standing postures and vigorous arm balances will heat us up. When we need to cool down, it’s a good idea to get low to the ground and do more restorative stretches and hip openers. Start on all fours, slide your right shin forward and parallel to the front of the mat, as you lengthen your left leg long behind you. Make sure your hips are square the front and walk your hands forward and rest your forehead on the floor. Hold for 8-10 breaths and repeat on the opposite leg.
Goddess Pose—Lying down on your back and letting the floor support you as your knees drop open to the side, you will feel your body letting go of heat and relaxing. You can place a cool compress on your forehead here or an eye mask over your eyes. Blocking out the light can help us cool off, as can the opening of the inner thighs and groin muscles. Play some gentle, soothing music and turn on a fan; or if you’re outdoors, lie in the grass or on the beach and imagine a cool breeze sweeping over you.
Make sure to always stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water this summer. If you’re a fan of the Bikram style of yoga, give yourself ample time to cool off after class before heading outside in to the heat again. Listen to your body and your breath and enjoy a popsicle or scoop of dairy or non-dairy frozen dessert. I love to freeze grapes, pineapple, watermelon and strawberries and add them to my water or just eat them as a frozen treat.
Here’s a video describing Sitali breathing which is a cooling breath technique. I shot this a few summer’s ago with my friend Lisa (an amazing yoga teacher!).