In the heat, keep your brain cool
One of the definitions of the word ‘flop’ is to fail at an endeavour. Another meaning for the word is to crumble or collapse. Flop-asanas are not poses that you do and then you fail; nor are they done simple by flopping over soft props. Rather, they are supported poses that help you open up your chest and your breathing when the hot weather becomes stifling. The main advantage to doing these poses is that they require a minimum amount of effort for maximum benefit.
I’m wondering how hot it was last week where you live? Sizzling? My yoga shed could have doubled as a sweat lodge in the peak heat. Fortunately, I taught my classes in the cooler morning and evening part of the day, and also dialled our routines right down to seated poses and flop-asanas.
The stifling stickiness of the Australian hot weather season is undeniably upon us and we yoga practitioners need to adapt to this climate. It’s not as humid in NSW as in the buildup to The Wet of our tropical north, but the weather can still be mind-numbing and body-immobilising.
If you are an Ashtanga Vinyasa yogi, you may be able to carry on with jumpings and chaturangas throughout the muggiest weather, and so I say, good on ‘ya. But for me, this sort of practice is a struggle in these 90 percent humidity, 38+ degree days.
Generally speaking, do passive poses to cool your brain and pacify your body’s systems. I’m thinking of forward bends, supported inversions and flop-asanas.
A hot weather yoga sequence
Here is a practice that I’ve created for the times when it takes a whole lot of cajoling for me to get onto the mat because of the intense heat and humidity. Hopefully, it will help you, too, to thrive and not just survive.
Adho Mukha Virasana (2 min.)
Lie on a bolster placed under your torso, arms stretched forward, forearms resting on another bolster, hands resting on blocks.
Supta Upavistha Konasana (3-5 min.)
Lie on a bolster at the wall, buttocks supported on a bolster, legs in the splits.
Supported Swastikasana (2 min. each cross of the legs)
Place your legs in cross-legged position, head and arms supported seat of chair.
Supta Padangusthasana 1 & 2 (1 min. each stretch)
Start with your feet at the wall. Hold a belt looped over your foot. First, stretch your leg up vertically. Hold for 1 minute, then switch to other side. Come back to the original side, take your leg out to the side at a right angle, then after one minute, repeat to the other side.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (5 min.)
Lie over crossed bolsters, shoulders on the floor, and, if you like, feet raised onto blocks. Have your feet hip-width apart.
Savasana with Legs Supported on Chair (5-10 min.)
Rest your head on a folded blanket with your legs supported onto a chair.
When the weather is more clement, you go back to a more vigorous practice, but in the heat, we just have to surrender to what is. It’s an opportunity to cool down, conserve energy and feel refreshed after practising.