Thinking about doing a sun salutation on a warm day can feel a bit much. Let me share some tips that will be useful to keep practising in the summer and will also come in handy for the Summer Solstice yoga challenge (June 27th).
When the temperature is high you might feel like not doing much, in particular not doing any type of exercises that make you feel warmer!
Do you find that in warmer weather you are more likely to be flushed with anger? Or get hot flashes?
Some people get awfully cranky when they overheat, especially during the summer. This can result in holding tension in the body. We will tens up particularly the areas that are our weaker points; neck and shoulders are a prime example.
Sun salutations are designed to build up some fire in the system to purify and burn what’s not needed. However, there is no need to get uncomfortable. I can teach you ways to self-regulate during your sun salutes.
A good option is to swap ‘plank, chaturanga and upward facing dog’ for ‘cat-cow.’
Cat stretch and Cow extension can be lovely cooling asanas that relieve neck tension allow you to release heat and open up your energy centres, regulating your body temperature and keeping you cool.
You can try the yoga class on the video below where Cat-Cow is used as part of the sun salutation flow.
If you want to try the ‘cat-cow’ asana alone, here is a step by step:
- Begin in a tabletop position with your knees in line with your hips and your shoulders in line with your wrists
- Inhale as you drop your belly down and lift your tailbone skyward for Cow Pose
- Hold here for a breath
- Then exhale as you round your back and tuck your chin towards your chest for Cat Pose
- Hold here for a breath, then repeat the Cat/Cow flow for several breaths
Another great way to self regulate your body temperature is by using cooling breath or Sitali Pranayama
In this breathing technique, the inhalation is moistened as it passes through the curl of the tongue so that the air that comes in is cooler and cools your whole system. Sitali can soothe a pitta imbalance.
Besides building breath awareness, this practise is said to calm hunger and thirst and cultivate a love for solitude.
In addition, this practice reduces fatigue, bad breath, fevers, and high blood pressure.
How to practice Sitali breath
- Sit in a comfortable position with the head, neck, and spine in alignment.
- Close your eyes, breathe diaphragmatically for several minutes, then open the mouth and form the lips into an “O.”
- Curl the tongue lengthwise and project it out of the mouth (about 3/4 of an inch).
- Inhale deeply across the tongue and into the mouth as if drinking through a straw.
- Focus your attention on the cooling sensation of the breath as the abdomen and lower ribs expand.
- Withdraw the tongue and close the mouth, exhaling completely through the nostrils.
- Don’t rush the breath so that your tongue can get moisture again.
Variation if you can’t curl your tongue
It’s genetically decided if you are going to be able to curl your tongue up or not. Don’t worry if you can’t! You can use Sitkari breath instead. On this breath, the inhale is also through the mouth but instead of a curled tongue, you place your tongue gently between your teeth and your tongue.
In this class, I am showing you variations that you can have to adapt to what’s right for you. Also, learn how to self regulate you le body temperature.
This is only a sample of what you will learn and experience during the Reconnect retreat. The summer solstice yoga challenge will be part of it and you’ll love it! Check it out here: https://cheyoga.co.uk/events/reconnect-a-yoga-day-retreat-by-the-sea/