Summer. It’s easy to get overheated; whether that be your temper, in your body, or even just feeling overwhelmed by your schedule. Emotions like anger, frustration, and fear activate our bodies and bring us messages for desired change. Part of our self-acceptance comes from integrating those feelings instead of shunning them away. Yoga not only teaches us how to act when things get heated, but also helps us find an expression of our true joy. We all want to be able to celebrate the sun overhead without getting burned. Here are three ways to cool down this summer.
Summer is naturally a time to get out and have some fun under-the-sun. And, you should have fun! But constant change and lack of consistent routine can leave some of us feeling overwhelmed and overheated by our inability to “keep up.” Cool yourself off by simply slowing down the pace and enjoying more of the ride along the way. Make space and time for practices or activities that make you feel well, like yoga. The simplest way to find a short and sweet opportunity to slow down during summer is to hold one hand over your heart and the other over your belly. You could try to breathe deeply feeling both hands rise on the inhale and fall on the exhale. Or, for an added challenge, can you feel the beat of your heart? This can be done seated, standing, or lying down.
Harness the nature of summer’s invitation to explore, travel, and play. And, whenever you feel too hot, remember that heat rises. Get out-and-about, but also get down when you need to reset and cool off. Choose a quieter time of day, like morning or evening, and meet your mat for a slow-and-low sort of practice. Find something restorative, kind, and yet still expansive. Like a flower in bloom, you still source your nourishment from deep roots. Honor the cooling nature of descending roots into the ground by taking great care of your lower body’s stability. It might be as simple as remembering to walk barefoot across your dew-stricken lawn to grab your newspaper on Sunday morning. Or, it might be more pragmatic like a double pigeon pose. While doing this work you might be able to process certain emotions that presented themselves during earlier times of “heat.” Encourage yourself to stay with the experience and see if it brings any insight.
The natural element of summer is fire. And when we feel too hot, it’s natural to seek the cooling element of water. Water, being the most yin element, is a beautiful way to balance too much fire, which is the most yang element. The simplest way to embody water is to make sure you’re drinking enough of it and staying hydrated. Another way to cool yourself down is to enjoy a cold shower or jump in a lake. But if that’s not available to you, we’ve got some yoga for that! Curl your tongue like a straw and breath in. Hold the full inhale of cold air in at the top. Then, tuck your chin and blow the warm air down. Lift your chin and begin again
In our constant work of self-acceptance and love, it’s important to consider that our feelings are not good or bad. Similarly, it’s not good or bad to be hot or cold. But it’s very powerful to know how to control your internal thermostat. Cool-it-down or heat-it-up!
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