As the scorching heat wave blankets us, finding ways to cope with extreme temperatures becomes crucial. Just like the refreshing effect of a cold shower or a dip in the sea or swimming pool, yoga offers a solution to cool your body temperature, calm your mind, invigorate your body, and combat the fatigue associated with the heat. Certain yoga poses can even counteract physiological effects like heavy, swollen legs and feet caused by increased vein dilation in high temperatures.
How do Yoga Poses Help Beat the Heat?
Activating the parasympathetic nervous system: Yoga poses slow down your heart and breathing rates, reduce blood pressure, and induce relaxation, instantly bringing down your body temperature. This supports your body's self-regulating mechanisms and helps restore balance.
Opening the body to "air" it out: By practicing postures that open the groins, armpits, and neck, areas that tend to sweat and feel uncomfortable in high temperatures, you create space for your body to breathe and naturally cool down.
Improving circulation and digestion: Inversions enhance blood circulation, twists provide a gentle massage to the digestive system, and poses that open the throat can stimulate the thyroid gland, all contributing to a more balanced and comfortable experience in hot weather.
General Recommendations for Designing a Yoga Sequence for Hot Weather:
- Choose less dynamic and demanding postures, such as avoiding warrior poses, fast-paced sun salutations (you can slow them down), and intense triangles.
- Slow down the pace of your sequence and breathing.
- Incorporate yoga poses that specifically alleviate heat-related side effects.
- Emphasize seated yoga poses, as being closer to the ground provides a sense of coolness and well-being.
- Integrate several relaxation poses (savasanas) in between postures to refresh and restore your energy.
By incorporating these yoga practices into your routine during hot weather, you can find relief, restore balance, and promote a sense of coolness and tranquility. Stay cool and comfortable while enjoying the benefits of yoga in the midst of a heat wave.
30 minutes yoga sequence for hot weather
Here is a sequence of 6 yoga poses that will help you cope with the heat. I have selected a mix of forward bends, backbends, inversions and twists so that your body can really get restored from the heat. Most of them offer alternatives so that you can vary of make it longer if required. Stay 5 minutes in each.
1 – Forward bends (both seated and standing) have a body cooling effect and are highly relaxing (we tend to get cranky as temperature throws us off balance):
Prasarita padottanasana (Standing Wide-Legged Forward Bend) has such an effect. You can use a yoga chair (and even place a yoga bolster on top) to rest your forehead and increase mind relaxation, free your breathing and let the air run.
Balasana (child pose)
Uttanasana / ardha uttanasana (standing forward bend and half version)
Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend)
Janu Sirsasana (head to knee pose): this pose immediately switches on the parasympathetic nervous system.
2- Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
Highly restorative and calming reclining yoga pose. It is also a great body opener.
Use blocks, a bolster, a yoga strap and a blanket for a super soothing effect. This is a great pose to alleviate period pain (while menstruating but also in between).
3- Backbends: although backbends tend to have a heating result, some are not as bad. This yoga poses category is of high importance to strengthen your back and to open your throat area (thereby ensuring a good functioning of the thyroid gland. I have selected some of the softer ones:
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Matsyasana (Fish pose)
4- Ardha Matsyendrasana (half Seated Twist Pose)
Provides deep relaxation and massages internal organs. This posture activates body elimination which in turn helps eliminate excess heat.
Same pose but lying down: Supta Matsyendrasana
Jathara Parivartanasana (Revolved Abdomen pose)
5- Viparita karani (Legs-Up-the-Wall pose)
A restorative yoga inversion posture that offers many benefits: it decompresses ankles and legs, reduces leg swelling, it is also great to calm down the mind and reduce anxiety.
Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)
6- Savasana (corpse pose)
This is the equanimity pose of yoga: mind, body and spirit are balanced. It cools your body temperature and has an overall restorative effect. Your body is well grounded and your awareness grows. Stay as long as possible in this pose.
Have a Wonderful Relaxing Summer!
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