Cool Down with Yoga

Melt into some cool, grounding and soothing practice.

In the spirit of Ayurveda, the ancient tradition of Indian medicine, summer is the season of pitta, or fire. Although that fire has the intent of providing the heat necessary to initiate activity and digest food and emotions – an excess of that energy can be toxic.

Avatar Grove in Port Renfrew, Vancouver Island, BC (Pic: JM)

Asanas (poses) that support in balancing pitta are those that focus pressure on the naval and solar plexus area (ie: forward folds), in the small intestine where pitta resides. There should be enough calming asanas included in your practice to quiet irritation, anger, impatience, frustration, anxiety, and intensity caused by pitta. These types of asanas will also help with acid reflux, ulcers, rashes and sunburn. Generally all forward bends, side stretches, twists, backbends that stretch muscles in your stomach, will be supportive.

These simple, restful movements will form more space in chronically tight areas and cultivate longer breaths, supporting you to decompress — and turn on your internal air-conditioning.

Each asana listed below is designed to be grounding and pacifying, releasing tension and expanding the calming, cooling flow of oxygen in the body without enhancing excess heat. For added cooling benefits, practice early in the morning (when temperatures are at their lowest) and stay hydrated throughout the day. These are poses that can be held for 30 – 60 seconds. Yet be sure to feel into what is right for you personally and flow from there.

Cooling asanas for you:

  • Viparita Karani (Legs up the wall)
  • Ustrasana (Camel)
  • Matsyasana (Fish)
  • Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle)
  • Trikonasana (Extended Triangle)
  • Bhujangasana (Cobra)
  • Dhanurasana (Bow)
  • Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
  • Pada hastasana (Hands to Feet)
  •  Meru Vakrasana (Simple Spinal Twist)


(Cover Photo by Deepak Rana: In Tapovan at 14,640ft with Mt. Shivling (@ 21, 467ft) looming above, Eastern Himalayas, India.)

This article was originally published for Salt Spring Malas.

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