Regarding yoga practice, when the temperature is hot in the extreme, do you go to ground? I’ve learned that you don’t necessarily need to skip your yoga practice. Just do cool yoga.
In Australia now, we are experiencing a summer where the atmosphere is heavy with humidity and heat. It’s not as humid here in NSW as it is in the buildup to ‘The Wet’ of our tropical north. But at the moment, the weather is nevertheless mind-numbing and body immobilising.
What’s a yogi to do?
Some of you Ashtanga Vinyasa yogis out there seem able to carry on with a sweaty practice of ‘jumpings’ and chaturangas without complaint. For my part though, I can barely tolerate hot temperatures, let alone do exercise. A Latin American siesta in a hammock or a poolside pina colada make more sense to me.
Nevertheless, we do need to keep up regular practice so I want to offer you an alternative approach for these steamy days.
When I practised yoga in India, I learned that poses that are passive will serve to cool your brain and pacify your body’s systems. Forward bends, supported inverted poses and a category of postures I call ‘flop-asanas’ will reconstitute you instead of draining your energy.
Here is a practice that I’ve created for the times when you sincerely want to practice but perhaps need cajoling to get on your mat.
My favourite seven cool yoga poses
The aim here is to cool your body down, conserve energy and, best of all, feel refreshed after your practice. And, to keep up your discipline in an enjoyable way by following a ‘cool yoga’ sequence.
Supta Baddha Konasana, 5-10 minutes. Lie over a bolster placed lengthwise under your head and back. Bind a belt around your sacrum, legs and feet. Add a blanket under your head and neck, and, for comfort, support your legs on blankets, as well.
Adho Mukha Virasana, 3-5 minutes. Rest the front of your body on a bolster. Stretch your arms forward, and rest your hands on blocks.
Upavistha konasana, 3-5 minutes. Place a bolster on the floor next to the wall. Lie on it with your buttocks next to the wall. Then, open your legs in the splits.
Supta Swastikasana. 3 minutes, then recross your legs and repeat. Place a stack of 3 blankets on the floor. Lie down and cross your legs on top of the blankets.
Supta Padangusthasana with a bolster next to your hip, 1-2 minutes each variation. Lie on the floor with your feet at the wall. Raise your leg and place a belt around the ball of your foot. Stretch your leg straight up. Hold for a minute or so, then take the same leg out to the side. Lower your leg and change sides.
Setubandhasana on crossed bolsters, 5 minutes. Lie over crossed bolsters, shoulders on the floor. Have a belt around your thighs, stretch your legs out on the top bolster, and rest your feet on 2 blocks.
Savasana with Legs Supported on Chair, 5-10 minutes. Place your lower legs on a flat-seated chair, with a right angle behind your knees. Rest your head on a folded blanket.
*Eve Johnson of my five minute yoga practice blog has some extra cool yoga poses, if you’d like to expand the above sequence.