6 Yoga Poses That Cool The Body When You Feel Like You're Melting In The Summer Heat
Listen, I love summer just as much as you do. But what I don't love so much is humidity, frizzy hair, and sweat — lots and lots and lots of sweat. If you ask me, there's nothing worse than when it's so hot outside that the mere act of standing is enough to make you break a sweat. Yes, you can chug water, wear a flowy shirt, and crank the AC up until your bills can't take it anymore, but when none of those things work, you can always opt for some yoga poses that cool the body to beat the summer heat. I know that anything that calls for more movement sounds like pure and utter torture when the temperatures crawl into the 90s, but seriously, hear me out on this one.
I'm not going to sit here and tell you that yoga, in and of itself, magically cools your body down. Unfortunately, it doesn't really work that way. But what yoga can do is help you navigate whatever it is you're going through by instilling a sense of discipline and reminding you that you're much stronger than you give yourself credit for.
Having said that, there are some breathing techniques that can help you feel a bit cooler in the summer heat (more on that in a bit). But when it comes to the actual, physical poses, it's all about using these movements to guide you through a state of being — even when that state is a little, you know, sweatier than you'd like it to be.
In Sanskrit, "sitali" translates to "cooling," and trust me when I say that this breathing technique definitely has an incredibly cooling effect on the body.
Even as a yoga teacher, I used to be a bit skeptical about how a simple breathing technique could actually make you feel physically different and more relaxed throughout your entire body. But this practice will do exactly that: Try to repeat your sitali breath for about 10 rounds, and picture the inhales and exhales as cool, gentle breezes moving up and down your body.
Standing Wide-Legged Forward Bend
Any pose that requires you to bend forward allows you to have a moment for inward reflection. Take this time to refresh your mind and let go of the muggy fog that's clouding your brain on this hot, humid day.
Let your body rag-doll down over your legs, and breathe deeply and slowly to soothe your being from the inside out. Remember to maintain a flat back in this asana to protect your spine and allow your body to feel its absolute best.
Child's pose invites you to relax, restore, and melt (perhaps literally, if it's that hot outside) into your mat as you allow your body to cool down from the summer heat.
Take a big breath in, and as you hold it, tuck your chin into your chest and let your hips sink closer to the ground, releasing any tension you may be holding on to. When you're ready, let out a big, cooling sigh of relief.
Tree pose encourages balance, both physically and mentally, meaning it'll give you something else to think about and focus on when it feels like you can sense every bead of sweat dripping down your body.
Picture yourself as a vast, powerful oak tree that provides generous shade and refreshment for anyone who crosses your path. Allow your "branches" to sway in the wind as you find that balanced sweet spot in this asana.
A half-split is another forward-folding posture that encourages introspection and stretches out your hamstrings, inviting an invigorating sense of relief to wash over your entire body.
Focus on releasing any tight sensations you may be feeling in your hamstrings. Meditate for a moment on how it feels to tense up and release these muscles as you close your eyes and anchor yourself to the present moment.
Supine Spinal Twist
Supine spinal twist is a reclined pose that really helps to quiet the mind, especially when your brain is buzzing with thoughts of refreshing swimming pools, soft serve ice cream, and the cold side of the pillow.
Once you find your way into this asana, close your eyes and challenge yourself to use some of that humidity-induced mental imagery — the dripping of vanilla ice cream down the side of a crunchy waffle cone, or the rays of sunshine dancing on the surface of an untouched pool — to invite a sense of coolness and stillness throughout your entire being. The mind is a powerful thing, people — don't you ever forget it.