“Fortunately for us, we have an ultimate support system called YOGA to keep our inner environment calm, steady and in balance this hot summer”, says Diana Azavedo.
The popular opening sentence to almost every conversation these days seems to be, “It’s so HOT outside” . And this summer heat on the outside somehow tends to permeate through our boundaries and we are left with little patience when dealing with ourselves, our friends, family or even at work.
While the temperatures outside fluctuate, our inner environment also goes through a change and we struggle with maintaining inner balance and hence peace of mind. Luckily for most of us, we have an ultimate support system called YOGA.
Usually most forward bends and seated twists encourage a sense of calming and surrender, which is particularly beneficial when we have to embrace the reality of a given situation.
Whether it is simply accepting the heat or dealing with a grave life circumstance, your practice is here to offer you the space to surrender and rejuvenate. Using yoga asanas can be extremely beneficial to reframe balance in mind and body.
So here’s a look at some of the cooling and calming poses that can be added to your daily practice to keep yourself in balance this summer.
Seated Forward Bend Pose (Paschimottanasana)
This forward bend offers a cooling benefit along with a stretch along the hamstrings (three bellied muscle located at the back of the thigh) and stretches the entire spine.
Sit up straight with legs out stretched in front of you. Maintain the feet dorsi flexed (toes face towards knees) Inhale and reach the arms overhead. Exhale as you lean forward maintaining the length along the lower back to inch your way forward. Have the priority of length and extension towards the toes as opposed to head to knee. If you do not reach the feet, use a strap or bend the knees. If the lower back is not very comfortable, sit on a block or a bolster and/or bend the knees. With each deep breath, inch yourself closer. Encourage an allowing instead of a pushing or pulling. Breathe here for about five to seven deep cleansing breaths and then carefully release out of the posture returning to a simple seat.
TIP: Bend the knees slightly, to create more length in the lumbar area to keep the back safe.
Seated Half Spinal Twist (Ardha Matysendrasana)
This serves as a safe counter to the previous pose. Twists are great for nourishing the nervous system. And can be highly rejuvenating for an overheated bodyand an overworked mind.
HOW TO: Sit up straight with legs out stretched in front of you. Bend the right knee and place the foot on the outside of the left thigh. Place the right hand at the back on the floor close to the hip. Inhale and extend the left arm up to the ceiling. Exhale & twist to the right to hook the arm on the outside of the right thigh or hug the right knee close to the chest. Inhale here to extend through the spine and exhale twist further. Breathe here for about five to seven breaths. To release the pose, breathe in and exhale to untwist. Stretch out the legs and repeat on another side.
TIP: Ground down through the sitting bones and maintain the spine long.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
This is a mild forward bend and folding the body into this shape is very calming to the nervous system. It definitely helps release the back and instigates a cooling action.
HOW TO: Take an all fours position with hands underneath shoulders and knees underneath hips. Bring the toes closer towards each other at the back and sit placing the hips to or towards the heels. Walk the hands closer to allow the elbows and forehead to relax onto the floor. If the forehead doesn’t reach the mat, place a block underneath it or separate the knees as wide as the Yoga mat. You may also place your arms by the sides of the body. Breath in this position for around five to seven calming breaths. Keep your thoughts centered and give yourself space to relax.
TIP: If the hips do not reach the heels, you may use a blanket or a bolster and place underneath the hips.
Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)
This breathing technique( pranayama ) helps soothes the nervous system and is a quick and effective way to rid anxious feelings. In the beginning stages of learning this technique, we avoid breath retentions.
HOW TO: Take a comfortable seat. Rest the left hand on the thigh. Fold the index and middle finger of the right hand into the palm, so the right thumb, right ring, and little finger are free. Use the right thumb to close the right nostril and inhale smoothly through the left nostril. Close the left nostril and switch to exhale through the right nostril. Now, inhale through the right nostril and switch to exhale through the left and continue this process for around five to seven cycles, each time switching on the exhalation. On the last cycle, exhale through the left nostril completely, let go of the hand variation and simply observe. TIP: Always switch the nostril on the exhale.
By: Diana Azavedo.
Diana Azavedo is a Yoga enthusiast and expert, offering yoga classes in Dubai, worldwide yoga retreats and RYT 200 hour Yoga teacher training in Dubai and Bali.
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