Those Downdog Days of Summer

Sure it's hot out! It's supposed to be...it's summer! And besides you're a yogi. You like it hot! Remember?

But no worries if it's getting to you. Try these three simple practices certain to keep you from getting too hot and bothered this August. 

First, a cooling pranayama practice. To bring the heart rate down and to cool the inner fire, try sheetali breath. Roll your tongue into a straw-like shape in one of two ways. Either roll it into a tubular shape so that the air travels from the tip of the tongue inwards like a straw. Or, roll it by curling the tip of the tongue up into the roof of the mouth so that the air travels in from the sides. (It's genetic. Your tongue will do one or the other but perhaps not both.) Breathe in and out with deep slow breaths. Feel that the air entering is cool and refreshing. 

Second, cold compresses for the ultimate chill out. Prepare two to four wash cloths by rinsing them in cold water and squeezing out the excess water. Then fold into squares or rectangles and put them into the freezer. After your practice, place the wash cloths on your eyes, on your forehead and sternum and/or in the palms of your hands. A refreshing cool down. If you'd like, add a few drops of essential oils on the cloths prior to freezing. Yogaaaah!

A third back to basics idea: water! Hydration is critical to thinking clearly and accessing your muscular strength. It is most common for folks to walk into a yoga class already dehydrated. And while it is nice to bring water to yoga, it is typically too late for it to do you much good. Plan ahead. You know you're going to hit your favorite 6:30 yoga class with me tonight! Toss two extra bottles of water into your bag when you pack up for work. Get that water in you throughout the day. Each time you sip your water, you get a moment of yoga. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Feel the water settles into your stomach. Smile in gratitude for the goodness you are offering your body. When you get to the mat, you'll find that your practice feels much healthier...body, mind and spirit!