It’s so hot that not even the community pool is helping me cool off!!! Due to such intense heat this week I’ve been mindful in my classes to slow the practice. Also, just for fun I have added some cooling Asanas, along with cooling Pranayama. It seems from my informal poll it has helped about 65% of the class. Here’s what we have been doing….
Uttanasana – Standing Forward Fold
Coming from Mountain Pose feel yourself rooted in all four corners of the feet. Allow the sitting bones to be heavy, as you bend your knees folding forward from the hips. Bring your hands to rest upon blocks on their highest position. Checking form to ensure blocks are aligned with shoulders. Let the crown of the head hang towards the earth, release the jaw, relax the face and allow the breath to flow unrestricted. After several rounds of breathe, slowly roll up with shoulders and head coming up last. Take a moment to notice the effect of this pose.
Paschimottanasana – Seated Forward Fold
Come to the floor. Extend the legs from their hip sockets. Gently rock side to side seeking even weight on the sitting bones. Take moment and notice the position of the knees. Have the knees facing upward towards the sky, and allow there to be a subtle inward rotation of the inner thighs. Feel a line of energy from the sitting bones down through the heels…toes reaching towards the face. Feel a second line of energy from the sitting bones up through the crown of the head. Folding from the hips bow the heart towards the legs keeping a long spine and neck. Soften the face and allow the breath to flow. Return to a seated position and enjoy the effects of this pose.
Also known as a Lunar breath which translates into cooling. Bring the index and middle finger of the right hand to rest on your forehead. Allow the ring finger and pinkie to rest on the left check. I find curling these two fingers to rest on the face is most comfortable. Gently seal the right nostril with the right thumb. Slowly begin to inhale and exhale through the left nostril. Complete several rounds of breath. Take a moment and notice how you feel.
This by far is the most fun breath to teach. If you can curl your tongue by folding the sides towards one another you’re already a rock star. If you weren’t blessed with this genetic gift…no worries I’ve got options. Simply take the tip of your tongue and place it on the roof of your mouth. Once you’ve got it in position, pucker your lips as if you’re drinking from a glass bottle. Ready? Simply inhale and exhale while holding the tongue and lips in place. Imagine if you’re drawing air in from a straw and then release it. Complete several rounds. Then release the tongue and lips. Enjoy the sensations that this breath creates.
Now, there are no guarantees that these techniques will completely beat the summer heat. However, it will give you a moment to unplug…maybe try something new…and help to cultivate a greater appreciation for your body and for yourself.