Global warming means we have to practice smarter
The climate is heating up as I sit at my desk. I’m not sweating yet, but I know that a hotter-than-ever Australian summer is coming. Happily, I have a tool box of poses that I rely on as it gets hotter, and these are called yoga flop-asanas.
Flop-asanas is a made-up name for poses in which you use minimal effort for maximum benefits.
One definition of the word ‘flop’ is to fail at an endeavour. Another meaning is to crumble or collapse. Yoga flop-asanas are not poses that you can fail at. Nor are they done simply by collapsing over soft props. Rather, they are supported poses that help you open up your chest and your breathing when the hot weather becomes stifling.
How hot is it where you live? Probably you’re experiencing temperatures that are too hot for October. An added stressor for us all is the drought that we’ve been experiencing.
We need to adapt to this warming climate. We can keep our practice to the cooler morning and evening part of the day. As the heat builds, we can do passive poses which have the effect of cooling the brain and pacify the body’s systems. Forward bends, supported inversions and flop-asanas are the ‘go’.
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, especially when humidity is a factor.
A passive, yoga flop-asanas 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 my mat because of the intense heat. Perhaps it will help you, too, to create energy and thrive through the heat, not just survive.
Supta Baddha Konasana (5-10 min.)
Lie over a bolster. Rest your head on a folded blanket. Support your knees with blankets or blocks. Use a belt around your sacrum, legs and feet to release your lower back.
Adho Mukha Virasana (2-5 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 on the seat of chair for a forward stretch.
Supta Padangusthasana 1 & 2 (1 min. each stretch)
Start with your feet at the wall. Hold a belt that is 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.
To finish this practice, you can add several minutes of Sitali breathing, which is a cooling pranayama.
When the weather is more clement, you can go back to a more vigorous practice, but in the heat we just have to surrender to doing climate yoga. It’s an opportunity to cool down, conserve energy and feel refreshed after practising.