Summer means different to different people. For example, a yoga practitioner sees summer as part of change. One season flows into another and each one brings its set of changes. A yogi will simply look at the changes and follow techniques that ensure the body and mind stay fit.
So we bring you five yoga tips for the season.
Tip 1: The secret is in your breath
The next time you’re waiting for a bus or have a few minutes before you rush out for the day, try the Sheetali pranayama.
1. Stick your tongue out and curl the sides of the tongue upward towards the center of the tongue.
2. Breathe in through the mouth, hold the breath and slowly exhale through the nose.
3. Repeat five to 10 times.
You’ll find your body temperature cooling down.
Tip 2: Drink up
The more you hydrate yourself, the better. However, this season, besides drinking gallons of fluids, you could include the Sheetkari pranayama in your routine. Here’s how:
1. Close the right nostril with your right thumb.
2. Exhale completely through the left nostril and then breathe in through the left nostril.
3. Close the left nostril with your little ring finger and exhale through the right.
4. Repeat five to 10 times.
Many feel that Sheetkari helps to quench thirst, so if you’re stranded without water somewhere, you know what to do. Anyhow, do include sheetkari in your routine as it helps cool down the body.
Friendly caution:Sheetkari is not a substitute for water or fluids. Drink up, for sure.
Tip 3: Calm the nerves
When the temperature is hot outside, it’s likely that tempers flare too, you get impatient and tired. That’s where Chandrabhedi steps in. This breathing technique has a cooling effect on the nervous system and on the nadis (subtle channels of energy).
1. With mouth open, clench your teeth and press the tongue against the teeth. Breathe in.
2. Close your mouth and breathe out normally through the nostrils.
3. Repeat five to 10 times: inhaling from the left and exhaling from the right.
After the pranayama, lie down in Shavasan (Corpse pose). It’ll relax and refresh you.
Tip 4: Slow down on yoga poses
Here are other yoga asanas that you can practice in summer:
Yoga poses practiced gently and meditatively balance the mind and body and are beneficial any time of the year. Shavasana and meditation are especially good in summer.
Any physical activity increases body temperature. That is why it’s best to avoid excessive or strenuous asanas when it is extremely hot. Early mornings or late evenings are the best times to practice yoga. People belonging to the ‘pitta’ type should avoid fast paced yoga poses. If the temperature is very high, avoid brisk breathing techniques like Kapal Bhati and Agnisara.
Tip 5: Swear by Shavasana
After a long day, do you want to unwind in the evening? Here’s how
1. Lie down in Shavasana near a wall – with your feet touching the wall. Raise your legs and rest your feet on the wall.
2. After holding the posture for a minute or two, bring the legs down and rest in Shavasana. You’ll find this yoga pose refreshing and restorative.
How does this work? Since the heart is pumping out more blood, when the temperature is high, this yoga pose helps the heart by returning more blood back to the heart. (Here we use gravity to bring the blood back to the heart.)
Caution: Those with high blood pressure and back problems should avoid this yoga posture. An easier alternative to this yoga pose is to pile up some pillows and rest your feet on them.