Asanas: To keep you cool this summer

Sure, you could eat watermelon or take a dip in the pool, but yoga can help your body and mind chill out.

WORDS BY- RUCHI LALCHANDANI

Summer is here. The time of year with the longest daylight hours and a bright sun that is heating up everything and everyone. When overheated, we tend to become more competitive, self-critical, and agitated. Part of the fun of steamy weather is finding the best ways to cool off. Sure, you could eat a slice of watermelon or take a dip in the pool, but yoga can also help your body beat the heat (and your mind chill out).
According to Ayurveda, the science of health native to India, summer inspires the pitta dosha. The doshas are the body errors, that help to create one’s individual constitution, and there are three different doshas: Vata, Pitta, Kapha.
Pitta is driven predominately by the solar force, so when the natural cycle of the seasons brings us to the sunny summer months, it is important to pacify the natural pitta inside our bodies so that we avoid the hot climate with similar internal energy. In doing so, we allow ourselves to enjoy the full excitement and thrill that summer brings, without being flooded by too much of one energetic force.

But how do we balance that pitta energy?
During this time of year, a good counter for the sunny weather would be to create a lunar current within the body by focusing on activities and foods that are cooling. This approach will nourish your system and help increase your energy levels.

6 cooling summer yoga poses:
One of the best ways to encourage equilibrium in your body is through your yoga practice. Here are a few cooling yoga poses you can include in your daily routine:
1. Moon Salutations: These are a variation of your Sun Salutes. If you want to do regular Sun Salutations, try to walk forward rather than jump forward to maintain the low vibratory feeling.

2. Supported Backbends: Try Bridge Pose

3. Legs Up the Wall: Remember to keep your tailbone flush against the wall and your legs straight up.

4. Supported Shoulder Stand: Place a blanket or towel under the shoulders, letting your neck dip off the edge.

5. Forward Folds: Try Seated Forward Fold or Wide-Legged Forward Fold.

6. Floor Twists: You can do these seated or lie on your back.

All these poses send a calming wave through the nervous system and serve the body’s attempts to self-regulate.

Breathwork: Cooling Pranayama

After you complete your asanas, weave in one or both of the following cooling pranayama (breath work)

1.Shitali Pranayama: This technique is done by curling the sides of your tongue towards one another and sticking your tongue out through your lips. Inhale through your rolled tongue and exhale out through the nose. Repeat 5-20 times. If you have difficulty curling your tongue, try to touch your tongue behind your teeth; inhale through the lips, exhale through the nose.
2.Single-Nostril Breathing: This technique isolates one nostril. For the summer months, we are targeting the left nostril, which is called the Ida Nadi(“subtle channel”), which is the body’s cooling channel and is located on the lunar side of the body. Close the right side of the nostril and breathe in and out through the left nostril for 5-20 breaths. Cooling foods, herbs and spices

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