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Yoga for hot days

How certain yoga poses boost our internal air conditioning and help cooling down body temperature on hot days.

By Claudia Lamas Cornejo

Supported forward bends have a cooling effect: Adho Mukha Svastikasana with block.

On hot summer days, we naturally adjust our clothing and diet. Airy fabrics provide permeability close to the skin and plenty of fluids keep the system running. Our yoga practice can also support us on very hot days and have a cooling effect on the organism. To do this, we need to know which asanas, yoga postures, have a heating effect and which asanas belong to the category of cooling asanas.

Supported forward bends have a cooling effect. They are good for arriving on the yoga mat when the body is very exhausted or heated. As heat is given off through the palms, it also helps to turn them upwards and relax them, as here in Paschimotanasana. The hip-width legs help the relaxation of the abdomen further.

In Iyengar Yoga, headstand (heating pose) is always practised before the shoulderstand (cooling pose) in order to calm and cool the body towards the end of the yoga sequence. An alternative to the headstand on very hot days is the following exercise: Supta Baddha Konasana with the yoga cushion across under the thoracic spine. The head goes back here as in Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana, a small roll supports the neck and back of the head, the shoulders relax towards the floor but do not touch the floor.

Against heavy, swollen legs and feet: Yoga inversion postures!

The blood vessels dilate so that the body can better release heat. Then blood circulation slows down and the veins become more permeable. This allows fluid to flow into the surrounding tissue. Heavy, swollen legs and feet are often the result. Yoga inversion postures provide relief in such cases.

Setu-Bandha variations with a block under the sacrum not only open up the chest: the blood in the legs can move more easily back to the heart with the gravity.

For advanced practitioners: T-Shape Niralamba-Sarvangasana turns the body around to the maximum and, as a shoulder stand variation, promotes cooling from within. The strong chin lock massages the thyroid and thus balances the hormone system.

But even in the "plough pose", called halasana, you get a similar effect. Here the legs can be stretched out straight, further than the edges of the mat or over a chair.

T-Shape shoulder stand variations: 2 yoga cushions laid like a T.

Last but not least: Shavasana, here as a Viparita Karani variation, to promote the flow back to the centre of the body and to maintain the cooling mechanism by the "chin lock", even in the final relaxation.

Have fun practising!



Claudia Lamas Cornejo is a self-employed PR manager, Iyengar Yoga practitioner and teacher.

Her project "Iyengar Yoga Blog" aims to shed light on topics related to the study and practice of yoga, to give practice tips and to let different voices of the Iyengar Yoga community have their say:


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