The summer is a great time to get outdoors and be active but with the extreme heat its not always wise to do a full blown workout. This summer has been a hot one with some really stifling days. Finding ways to cool down can be tough.. there’s only so much ice cream we can eat. We don’t have a backyard pool (if you do, hit us up.. for real) and lugging gear down to the beach isn’t always an option (especially in Dallas). We are active people, so in the summer we have to work around the heat and find ways to keep cool during a workout. Even some yoga classes can be counter productive during this heated season. Save that hot yoga/power workout for the fall and beat the heat with cooling + calming poses instead. In general, movement that places pressure on the naval and solar plexus (forward bend) or stretches the stomach (side bends and backbends) are going to be beneficial in calming the heat that builds up during the summer months. We’re focusing on two cooling postures today, but there are tons more so feel free to explore what feels good to you. Child’s pose is always a good idea when you’re feeling overheated.
To help you stay chill while you stretch it out, press play on our “cool down” playlist.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Method: Stand in Tadasana (feet hip width apart) with your hands on your hips. Inhale. As you exhale, keep your spine long, hinge at the hips and fold forward. Only go as far as you feel a comfortable stretch — no pulling. Place your fingertips or hands on the floor, ankle or shins. Ground the feet and send the sitting bones toward the ceiling. The emphasis is on lengthening the front of the torso as you fold deeper into the pose.
Hold this posture for about 10 deep breaths, continuing to lengthen and lift as you breathe.
To come out of the pose, bring your hands back onto your hips and return to standing through a flat back.
Benefits: Stretches the hamstrings, calves and hips. Strengthens the things and knees. Calms the brain, helps relieve stress, depression, insomnia and headaches. Reduces fatigue and anxiety.
Modifications: If you have very tight hamstrings, place a small bend in the knees. Allow your sacrum to deepen into the back of the pelvis and bring your tailbone closer to the pubic bone.
If you’re struggling with back issues, you can practice Ardha Uttanasana (Half Forward Bend) at the wall. Place hands on the wall and walk your legs back until your torso is perpendicular to your legs.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Method: Begin kneeling with your knees hip distance apart, things perpendicular to the floor. Engage your buttocks and press your shins and the tips of your feet into the floor. Place your hands on your sacrum, fingers pointing down, elbows reaching toward each other. Firm your tail forward. Press your thighs back to prevent the front of the pelvis from pushing forward. Inhale, lift your heart. Begin to drop back keeping the thighs perpendicular to the floor. Keep your head up, chin down to your sternum and hands on your pelvis. If you feel comfortable (and you can keep your thighs where they are) you can bring your hands onto your heels. Press the balls of your toes into the floor to elevate the heels of you need to. Keep your lower ribs pressing toward your spine. You can drop your head back if there is no strain in the neck.
Hold this pose for 3-5 breaths. To exit the pose, bring your hands back to your hips and rise to kneeling leading with the heart (not the chin!) Sit back on your heels or rest in child’s pose for a few breaths.
Benefits: Stretches the entire front torso, ankles, thighs and throat. Deep hip flexor (psoas) stretch. Strengthens the muscles of the back. Reduces fatigue and anxiety.
Modifications: This can be a very deep stretch, especially if you have tight shoulders. You can practice this pose against the wall, turning your toes under and bringing the crown of your head to the wall. You can also bring blocks to the outside of the ankles. As you drop back, bring your hands onto the blocks instead of the heels.