Ayurveda and Yoga are both health promoting life-style practices. As it is so hot, people really don’t fancy active yoga and I practice COOLING YOGA with my weekly class during this time.
So here are some tips:
Cool vs. Hot Breathing
I had a conversation about ‘smoking reducing stress’ (really??) and my idea is that it is the long deep breathing, the purposeful inhalation and exhalation that reduce the stress for smokers. Sadly it contains harmful substances. But, you can use clean oxygen for a stress reducing and cooling effect. Simply close your right nostril and deep breathe through your left nostril (breathing through right nostril would increase heat).
Cool vs Hot Food
When it is so hot I make peppermint tea and let it cool down, drink it cold. Reason for this is that peppermint is a cooling herb. But there are more, such as: Fennel Seed, Fresh Cilantro, Coriander, Cardamom, Saffron, Dill, and Cumin plus a little sweet taste reduces the heating effect. Sage is particularly good for temperature control too. Infusions are mild and boiling the herbs into a decoction makes them stronger, treat a bit more careful if you are making a strong decoction, it really works!
How much heat reducing you should do depends on how much you suffer. Pitta personality types do not tolerate increase in temperatures well; the other body-types tolerate it a bit better. Heating foods are meat, alcohol, coffee and hotter spices (garlic, paprika, pepper, etc.) and acidic foods.
When it is unbearably hot we will abandon dynamic yoga and in particular the breath of fire, practice cool breathing and stretches close to the floor, which release tension and cool the body. We may follow with a cooling mantra and yoga nidra, an autogenic training. The meditation at the end of the yoga class is always welcome and you won’t need a blanket. So even in the heat, with a bit of flexibility from your yoga teacher, all can be adjusted to how students are feeling on a given day. If it is hot, we just practice cool yoga.
And I also feel that sticking feet in bucket of cold water really helps!
Ayurveda Coach & Yoga Teacher