With the proliferation of hot yoga, you might not think of yoga as an activity to keep you cool. The truth is that, especially in the heat of the summer, it’s the perfect tool to keep your body temp regulated and keep you optimally healthy.
Your Asana Practice Should Include Cooling Poses
Any pose that has you folding forward, side stretching and gently twisting are excellent for cooling the body. Getting the feet over the heart as in Legs up the Wall (photo to the left), Shoulder Stand or Headstand kicks in the parasympathetic nervous system and gets you right into that calm cool place.
If you enjoy a flow style of yoga, try practicing a Moon Salute (Chandra Namaskara – see diagram below) rather than a Sun Salute. Moon Salutes are soothing and calming to the body and the nervous system. They are also wonderful to practice in the evening hours.
Include In-Season Cooling Foods in Your Diet – Ayurveda for Summer
Avoid sour, fermented products such as yogurt, sour cream and cheese or use them sparingly. Sour tastes aggravate Pitta (Ayurvedically speaking) and create heat in the gut.
The vegetables to favor are asparagus, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, pumpkins, broccoli, cauliflower, celery okra, lettuce, green beans, and zucchini. Reduce tomatoes, hot peppers, carrots, beets, eggplant, onions, garlic, radishes, and spinach.
Sweeter fruits such as grapes, melons, cherries, coconuts, avocados, mangoes, pomegranates, fully ripe pineapples, oranges, and plums are recommended. Reduce sour fruits such as grapefruits, apricots, and berries.
Try to include seasonings that are soothing and cooling – coriander, cilantro, cardamom, saffron, and fennel. Very hot seasonings such as chili peppers, and cayenne are best avoided if possible.
Olive, sunflower, and coconut oils are the best oils to pacify the heat of Pitta. Use less sesame, almond, and corn oil, which are more heating and warming to the body.
As always, I hope you find this information super usable and helpful to living an optimally healthy & long life. This yoga thing rocks!