This has been one HOT summer! I remember when I was a kid, 100 degrees was a pretty rare event (in Minnesota that is), but it seems like triple digits are becoming a summer staple around most parts of the country. I suppose we can expect more of it, as extreme weather events become more commonplace what with the global warming and all. I've been trying to soak up as much heat as possible, and resisting turning on the AC whenever I can since after our move to Seattle this September 100 degrees will be a distant memory and peaks of sun won't be so plentiful.

This most recent heat wave got me thinking about other ways to keep cool, other than retreating to the AC. One of my favorite ways is something my grandma taught me when I was very little: running your wrists under cold water. Since your blood flows so close to the surface right there, you can cool off very quickly. Or grab an ice cube and hold it there while it melts...soooo refreshing!

Another way is to cool off, is with some cooling yoga poses. What, you don't think of cooling when you think of yoga? Think again, these are some cool (punny?) moves for beating the heat.
Classic down dog is great. In fact, all inversions (poses where your head is below your heart) that have some support are nice and cooling. It takes the pressure off your heart and circulatory system, allowing the blood to come back up to your heart more easily, and thus produces a cooling effect. If holding down dog is not easy for you, you can simply do it on the wall, placing your hands at a 90 degree angle and letting your head and torso hang. See here for a how-to).
This is another great move for some insta-cooling. It's another supported inversion, since your knees should be bent until your belly rests on your thighs. Let your head and neck relax, and take several deep breaths.
This last one is definitely the most effective, but yes, is the most silly looking and feeling. BUT I swear, you'll feel the effects instantly. It is known as shitali pranayama, or simply "cooling breath." To begin, curl your tongue up unto a U. If you can't do that (up to 35% of people cannot), then just open your mouth into an O shape. Now breathe in and out through your mouth, letting your breath pass over your tongue. A lot of heat comes from the tongue and mouth area; why do you think we take our temperature there (in the olden days at least. Have you seen those new forehead thermometers?!)? Stay cool, yogis.

p.s. Don't forget, Yoga Journal's 28 day Meditation Revolution starts today. Join me in challenging yourself to start or deepen your practice!

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1 comment:

  1. I am part of the 35% of people who can't curl my tongue into a U. I can turn it into a sideways, so instead of a U it's a C. Loving your blog so far, new reader here! I've been trying to get back to doing yoga regualarly.