Keep Your Cool with Yoga

If the weather forecast is correct, we’re in for a few hot months yet. Here’s a few tips for you to stay cool and comfortable when the weather is anything but.

It’s been one of the hottest January’s on record with days (and days!) of humidity and oven­like temps. The worst part about this is the disrupted sleep; we all wake cranky and unsettled and getting a good start to the day is difficult.

Granted, some people are more effected than others (raises hand!). But regardless of your
heat tolerance, there are a few things you can do to stay cool, calm and collected, even
when you’re in a bit of a fluster. 

1. embrace a gentle practice when your body feels hot

The heat can leave you feeling depleted and while some prefer to power through and stick with their fast­ paced vinyasa practice, others choose to honour how they’re feeling and let go of any expectations.  Next time you’re on your mat and feeling lethargic, hot and sticky, move gently through the asanas, choosing to open your body and rest where possible. This really is a beautiful time for a little yin yoga.

2. practise the cooling breath

“Sheetali” means “cooling” in Sanskrit and this breathing technique is a powerful way to calm the mind and cool the body. It also reduces stress levels and can lower your blood pressure. Indeed, it’s a handy trick to revert to when the heat strikes. So how do you do it? Curl your tongue like a taco (or just make an “O” with your mouth like you would when you’re sucking through a straw) and draw the breath in. You’ll immediately notice a cooling sensation in the mouth. Exhale out of the nose. Practice for 10 rounds and then rest.

3. eat cooling foods

Cucumbers, feta cheese and coconut products are some of the most cooling foods you can eat so include them in your summer meals. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water (including a big glass before you go to bed and one as soon as you wake up). Peppermint tea works to hydrate and cool, too.

4. place a wet face washer on the back of your neck

Take your grandma’s advice and run a face washer under the tap, roll it over and place it on the back of the neck to cool your body temperature.

5. practise Viparita Karani

The heat and humidity can cause tired and sore legs. To relieve pressure and cool, place your feet in a bowl of cool water (with a drop or two of peppermint oil) and then lie with your legs up the wall.