Yoga for me is a way of balancing my body, giving it what it needs, what it does not already have. My favourite part of my teacher training was realizing that the way yoga is evolving and the reason for it is so that it will fit better in to our life, balancing us out.
In the beginning of yoga, the focus was on sitting still and meditating. The poses and movement was merely a way to stretch and strengthen the muscles so that one comfortably could sit for longer periods.
Back then we spent a lot more time outside working hard, walking or maybe riding everywhere, so what we needed was a break, a chance for the body to rest. Whilst now, where most of spend a lot of time sitting down using our brain more than our body, yoga has evolved to balance that.
We focus more on the movement and poses of the body, and try to still the mind.
Summer has kickstarted these last few weeks, with high temperatures, lots of sunshine and the longest day of the year. This makes us want to spend more time outside, walking in the sunshine, swimming in the sea, our lives become more social with BBQs and picnics.
It is an amazing time of the year, however it also takes a lot of energy and with the nights being so short we have to remind ourselves to rest.
This have been my favourite poses this week, helping me to cool down and re-energize.
Tadasana, Mountain pose stills and harmonizes both body and mind. Making sure that you keep your spine long and your shoulders rolling down and back will help release tension which can cause heat. Standing still physically will help your mind getting in to a slower pace where you can restore your energy. Making sure our body is symmetric as we stand up will help the blood flow easier, creating less work for your heart.
Ardha Malasana, half squat helps improve the blood flow in your thighs, hips and front body. Because of the hot weather your muscles will be warmer than usual so stretching them out will help cool you down. Reaching your arms out will make it easier to breath, and the breath is key on hot days.
Trikonasana. triangle pose, lengthen thighs and upper body, similar to half squat, it opens up your lungs, chest, and shoulders, balances your body, and increases concentration and awareness. It not only invigorates your digestive system but also energizes your entire system.
Uttanasana, forward fold, any type of forward folds have a calming and cooling effect on the body. With your head below your heart, fresh oxygenated blood can rush to your head and rejuvenate you for the next section of a strong sequence. They calm the mind by reducing anxiety and worry, depression, and insomnia. Forward folds tone and stimulate the internal organs and soothe the nervous system and encourage introspection.
By folding forward, you increase circulation to the abdominal organs like the spleen, pancreas, liver, intestines and kidneys. This then improves digestion and stimulates metabolism.
Savasana, corpse pose, take longer savasanas than usual, really allow yourself to rest. Teaching yourself how to rest and relax will improve your sleep which will give you more energy in the daytime. Savasana also calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression. It relaxes the body, reduces headache, fatigue, and insomnia and it helps to lower blood pressure. For more information and benefits of savasana click here
Other cooling poses are
- Legs up the wall, great for reducing swelling in feet ankles
- Butterfly pose, stretches groins, hips and thighs helping your mid region to cool down
- Low lunge, opens hips and chest, improves blood flow and breath
- Cobra, releases tension in solar plexus and open up the chest