If you’ve ever noticed that your mood gets impacted by sweltering heat, you’re not alone. Several studies have shown that heat exposure can negatively affect people’s moods. Hot weather has been reported to reduce people’s emotional well-being and has been linked to increased negative emotions, including anger, stress, violence and depression. Lucky for us, there are several yoga poses that combat these negative effects and alleviate symptoms and cool down the body this summer. Ahead, yoga teacher Nerry Toledo shares her ultimate tips for cooling your body down this summer.
Sitali is a Sanskrit word meaning “cooling” or “soothing”. This breathing technique helps to cool the body and calm the nervous system. Sit in comfortable position with your spine straight.
How to do it: Take two or three deep inhales and exhales through your nose. Roll your tongue into a "U," with the tip just outside of the lips. Inhale deeply through the rolled tongue, and draw your tongue back into your mouth, close your lips and pause. Hold the breath in for a moment and then exhale slowly through your nose. Repeat at least five to ten times to maximize the cooling effect.
Mountain Pose with Lotus Mudra
Mountain Pose or Tadasana harmonizes your body and mind and reduces dullness and depression. Lotus mudra is a hand gesture designed to open the heart center, which cultivates love and joy.
How to do it: Stand on the top of your mat in Mountain Pose/Tadasana. Bring your palms together in front of your heart and open into Lotus Mudra - a hand gesture designed to open the heart centre. The base of the hands touches at the bend of the wrist; the thumbs and little fingers stay connected, allow the index, middle and ring fingers to open.
Moon Salutation (Chandra Namaskar) is a quieting sequence to create a cooling flow of movement that invites you to bow to and cultivate the moon’s soothing lunar energy. To enhance your inward focus, repeat a traditional lunar chant, Om somaya namaha, as you move from pose to pose.
Cycling Pose (Pada Sanchalanasana)
Practice this pose with ease rather than intensity to help release heat from the torso.
How to do it: Lie on your back with your feet together and hands behind your head. Bring the feet slightly off the ground. Keep the elbows wide as you inhale to lift the upper back off the floor and reach your left elbow to the right knee. Exhale to return to centre. Inhale to reach the right elbow to the left knee. Alternate sides for 10 - 15 rounds each knee.
This pose stretches the groins, inner thighs and hips and helps relieve the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.
How to do it: Sit with your legs straight out in front of you. Exhale, bend your knees, pull your heels toward your pelvis, then drop your knees out to the sides and press the soles of your feet together. Stay for 10 breaths
Revolved Side Angle (Parivrtta Parsvakonasana)
This pose stimulates the abdominal organs, improves circulation and balance, and increase stamina.
How to do it: Begin in Tadasana. On an exhalation, step the left leg back. Turn the left foot in about 45 degrees. With the arms extended, inhale fully to expand the side body and exhale as you bend your right knee, making sure it is directly over your ankle. Bring the right hand to the right hip and raise the left arm overhead. Inhale to find length in the torso and as you exhale begin to twist over to the right. Bring the left elbow across the right thigh. Place the right palm atop the left and press the hands together. Lifting the left heel off the floor will encourage a deeper twist and help with balance. Breathe here before alternating sides.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Corpse Pose or Savasanais the definitive restorative posture for body, mind, and spirit. This asana stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and calms your sympathetic nervous system.
How to do it: Lay down with your back on the mat, extend your arms and legs wider than mat-width and palms facing up. Soften your body into the earth and allow 5-10 full minutes for rest and integration.