Summer is already here. In this steamy weather we all try to find ways to cool ourselves well. Ayurveda calls the summer season as ‘Grishma Ritu’. As the sun rays become more powerful, the body feels as if squeezed with increasing atmospheric temperature. This in turn weakens the Kapha, day-by-day, and strengthens Vata.
Let’s check out what Ayurveda speaks about summer.
- Salt, sour, and pungent tastes should be avoided
- Rigorous exercises and too much exposure to sunlight should be avoided
- Preference should be given to sweet tastes
- The food should be light, unctuous, and cool in properties
- Cold water should be used for taking shower
- Intake of alcoholic beverages should be limited or forbidden
- Diet should include white rice, watery meat soups, water flavored with camphor powder or trumpet flower, churned spicy yogurt, milk, leafy vegetables, and seasonal fruits
- Seasonal fruits like water melon, mangoes, pomegranate, plums etc. can keep your body cool.
There are so many summer practices that you can follow which can keep the body cool and soothing. In this article I am explaining about the Yoga poses you can practice that can help in cooling off the body.
Remember one thing while practicing Yoga – Always work within your own range of limits and abilities.
|Ashwa Sanchalanasana|| Bend your legs at the knee to place the palms on the mat, in line with your feet. Breathing in, push your right leg back, as far back as possible. Bring the right knee to the floor and look up. This pose lengthens the spine and improves digestion. It also helps in cooling your body.
|Vrksasana (Tree Pose)||Stand in Tadasana. Lift your left knee into your chest and out to the side. Place your left foot on your right calf or reach down and grab your left ankle and place it on your right thigh. Bring your hands to your heart center. Root down with your right foot and lift up through the crown of your head. Stay for 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side.|
|Badha Konasana (Bound Ankle Pose)||From a seated position, bend your knees and place the soles of your feet together. Heels of the feet are as close or far away from the groin as per your comfort. Place your hands around your feet. Hinge forward, extending your heart toward your toes, gently rounding the spine until you finds the fold that is right for you. Hold for 10 to 15 breaths.|
|Savasana (Corpse Pose)||Lie flat on your back and release any tension or breathe control. When you come out of the pose, roll to the left side (which is associated with the moon, and therefore, cooling in nature), and press up to your seat.|
In the summer, it is always good to go for the Moon Salutations than the Sun salutations.
Chandra Namaskara or Moon Salutations
Step 1 – Standing Mountain Pose / Tadasana
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Press your palms together in prayer position. Rest your thumbs on your sternum and take several breaths.
Step 2 – Half Moon Posture/ Urdhwa Hastasana
Inhale and sweep your arms out to the side and overhead. Interlock your fingers and point your index fingers to the ceiling. Exhale and press your left hip to the side, bending your upper torso to the right. Keep your feet grounded and your thighs firmly engaged. Inhale and come back to center. Exhale and bend to the left, and then inhale to come back to center. Exhale as you release your arms.
Step 3 – Goddess Squat Pose / Utkata Konasana
Stand with your feet wide and your toes pointing out. With your knees over toes, lower into a squat, with your arms out to the side.
Step 4 – Star Pose
Inhale as you straighten your legs, keeping your feet wide apart. Extend your arms at shoulder-height, facing your palms forward. Spread your fingers and reach out through your fingertips.
Step 5 – Extended Triangle Pose — Utthita Trikonasana
Stepping right foot back, right foot 90 degree angle (toes point straight/forward), left foot turns slightly in, extend arms out. Rest your right hand on the outside of your shin or ankle and extend your left hand straight up to the ceiling.
Step 6 – Pyramid Pose — Parsvottanasana
Inhale as you lower your left hand and turn your upper torso to the right until it is in line with your right leg. Exhale as you fold your torso over your right leg. Rest both hands on your lower leg, foot, or the floor. Ground down through the heel of your back foot.
Step 7- Low Crescent Lunge — Anjaneyasana
Inhale as you bend your right knee and place your fingertips on the mat in front of you. Exhaling, step your left foot to the back of the mat, keeping your right foot at the front of the mat. Align your right knee over the heel of your right foot. Lower your left knee to the floor and slide your leg back a few inches.
Step 8 – Low Side Lunge
Inhaling, place both hands to the inside of your right foot on the floor. Rotate your right foot and leg to face forward, keeping your knee bent. Exhaling, turn your left toes forward, keeping your left leg extended and your palms on the floor.
Step 9 – Garland Pose — Malasana
Inhale as you step your right foot in toward your left and lower your tailbone, coming into a low squat. Bring your upper arms to the inside of your knees. Press your elbows against the inside of your knees and bring your palms together in prayer position. Exhale fully.
Now, do all the poses from 8-1 in the reverse order i.e. Low side lunge, low crescent lunge, pyramid pose, extended triangle pose, star pose, goddess pose, Half moon posture and mountain posture.
Do three rounds of moon salutation in the mornings in summer to keep yourself cool throughout the day. Practicing Moon Salutations in the evening can restore balance and peace throughout your body and mind.
In short, in order to cool the body choose the postures like the following.
- Spinal twists as it releases excess pitta from the body
- Gentle back bends like cobra pose or Cat pose
- Forward folds which helps in keeping the mind and body cool
Other things to keep in mind
- Take longer breaths during the practice sessions and follow a gentle slow paced Yoga in summer.
- Practice open-mouthed lion’s breathe to refresh your body.
- End on a slow note with poses like Savasana or corpse pose.
- Sitali Pranayama is often translated as “the cooling breath” because the act of drawing the air across the tongue and into the mouth is said to have a cooling and calming effect on the nervous system. To practice Sitali, you need to be able to curl the sides of your tongue inward so that it looks like a straw which usually is a genetic trait.
Article by Arya Krishna