It's been a summer that hasn't prompted me to write about ways to cool off. Until just recently, that is.
I am one who cannot tolerate exercising in the high heat. If it's too hot out, I'll head to the air conditioned gym. Yes, I know it's a gorgeous summer day, but if it makes me sick and nauseous to exert myself outside, what's the point?
Just the other day, I foolishly practiced vinyasa yoga in a heated room at the studio where I teach. Big mistake. The classes are supposed to be heated to 95 degrees with humidity around 30-40 percent. It's never a good sign when you haven't even started class and you already have that too hot feeling.
But I pushed on and was rewarded by almost passing out during a warrior two and extended side angle flow. I had to stop. The sweat poured off me and my heart raced. It got better from there as the vigorousness of class decreased slightly, but I was once again reminded how bad it is for me to do yoga in a hot room on a hot summer day.
Here's what I should have done: Dropped to my knees in toes pose (with my toes curled under, stretching out the bottoms of my feet) and started sitali pranayama. Sita in Sanskirt means cool. Pranayama is typically translated to mean breathwork.
How it works: Curl up your tongue so it looks like a taco in-between your lips. Pretend it's a straw and inhale a breath through it. Notice how cool it feels. Then close your mouth and exhale through the nose. Repeat.
Other good cooling yoga poses to combat the heat: forward folds and twists.