Cooling Yoga

Overheated? These postures will be your new best friends. Not only are you creating length within your muscular structure, which may be the first aspect you notice – you are also improving your circulatory, digestive, and immune systems. These systems are associated with the cooling parasympathetic branch of the nervous system (our rest, digest, and heal cycle) and is our body’s natural way to process and release stress hormones. However, with summer temperatures our bodies may need a little extra help to reduce internal heat. Prasarita Padottanasana and Supta Matsyendrasana both create a cooling affect in they body by releasing heat and tension within the abdomen and along the spine. Leaving you feeling refreshed, balanced, and few degrees cooler.

 

Prasarita Padottanasana (Standing Wide Legged Forward Fold)

  • From standing, side step about one leg’s distance so that your feet are parallel to one another.
  • Rotate your toes slightly inward towards each other. Pressing your feet firmly against the ground engage the outer leg, a downward and outward motion.
  • Bring your hand to hips and slightly tip your pelvis forward. Moving the body forward into the balls of the feet.
  •  Release your hands from your hips and rise the shoulders upwards, towards the ears. Externally rotate the arms, bringing the shoulder blades together, and then lower the shoulders down. Keeping the broadness across the collarbones.
  • Bending at hip crease, fold forward by sending the crown of your head forward and towards the ground and yours hips backward and up.
  • Bring your hands to the ground and in line with your heals, fingers forward. Keep your arms straight or to deepen, work to create a 90 degree angle with the elbow. Bringing the crown toward the ground.
  •  Bending at the knee slightly, bring your hips over your heals. Then work to straighten your legs. Keeping the effort of the pose in the feet and legs.
  • Once you have found a stable position, take 5-10 deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Allowing each breath to be longer and slower than the one before. Then return to natural breath.
  • To come out of the pose, bring your hands to your hips and a bend in the knee. Slowly rise up to a straight spine.

Supta Matsyendrasana (Supine Spinal Twist)

  •  Lie on your back and pull your knees in towards your chest and rock side to side, massaging the low back.
  • With bent knees, set your feet on the ground. Press into your feet to raise your hips off the ground. Set your hips down 1-3 inches to the left.
  • Pull your knees into your chest and then allow your knees to fall the right side.
  • Keep both shoulders secure on the ground and support or adjust the legs as needed.
  • Allow the body to feel heavy for this one. Releasing heat from the core and relaxing the muscles.
  •  Once you have found a stable position, take 5-10 deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Allowing each breath to be longer and slower than the one before. Then return to a natural breath.
  •  Repeat other side.

 

Cooling Pranayama

Sheetali Pranayama

  • Begin in a comfortable seat (note, this breath can also be done standing or laying down).
  •  Rest your hands on your knees.
  • If seated or standing, elongate spine by reaching the crown of the head upward, keeping a slight tuck of the chin.
  • Stick your tongue out and roll the outside edges upward, creating a tube shape.
  • Inhale by drawing the breath through the tongue like a straw.
  • Upon completion of the inhale, bring the tongue back inside the mouth, sealing the lips, and
    pausing the breath for 4 to 8 seconds.
  • When ready, exhale sending the breath out the nostrils.
  • Repeat this process for 5 to 10 breaths.

Can’t roll your tongue? No worries, this next one is for you.

Sitkari Pranayama (teeth hissing breath)

  •  Begin in a comfortable seat (note, this breath can also be done standing or laying down).
  • Rest your hands on your knees.
  • If seated or standing, elongate spine by reaching the crown of the head upward, keeping a slight tuck of the chin.
  • With soft pressure, clench your teeth together and move your tongue away from the teeth.
  • Inhale by drawing the breath through the teeth, creating a hissing sound.
  • Upon completion of the inhale, seal the lips, and pause the breath for 4 to 8 seconds.
  • When ready, exhale sending the breath out the nostrils.
  • Repeat this process for 5 to 10 breaths.