Enjoy Yourself Summer Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 5

Day 2: Cool Off and Balance

30 min - Practice


Cool off and connect within this summer season. We find joy in this cooling practice by creating a strong base, noticing your capacity, and celebrating your life. It's good to know how to slow down.

Today's reading: 3 Ways to Cool Down This Summer.

What You'll Need: Mat


Read Full Transcript

Welcome to day two of our summer challenge. Summer is the perfect time to run and swim and play and go on vacation. But when the sun is overhead, it's easy to overheat, to get frustrated and irritated and hot. Today, we take on the challenge of using this practice to cool off, to cool down and to calmly step forward. Then we can have more fun. Today, you'll need two blocks and if you have them, two blankets. One will work, but two is better. We'll start in kneeling. You can start on your knees and place a block below your bum. Two is fine. Higher is absolutely okay. Then you'll come to sit on the block, ground down through your pelvis, lift up through your heart. Take your hands to tiny, cute little fists. Tuck your thumbs in the same way a two-year-old would have a terrible tantrum. But it'll be better than that. Right here, feel what it's like to bounce and get a little punchy. It's okay to be angry in life sometimes. That's normal. Use it here as energy to move forward, to transform. As you get punchy, right here, we'll find a breath. We'll use yoga breath to transform this little anger into something better. It'll sound like this. Short little exhale. Through a closed mouth, through the nose. Stay with it. I'm with you too. Bounce, bounce, bounce. Have a little fun. If you have too much fun, find a little fire to hold yourself together. Five, four, three, two, one. Stop bouncing. Lift your hands up overhead. Interlace your thumbs. Take a big breath in. Sip three through your mouth. Hold, pause, lift, and then pop it like a cork. Welcome. Now we'll learn a cooling breath. Stick your tongue out through your mouth and make a little straw. Breathe on the inhale. Tuck your chin to your chest, and exhale downward. Three more like this.

Two more. Settle in. Notice the cycle of breath changing you already. Very nice. We've derived. Come to all fours facing the top of your mat. Use the block that was underneath your bum to help set up all fours. Hands under shoulders, and knees underneath hips. Nice and vertical through the long bones of the body. With fingers facing forward, inhale to cow, and then exhale to cat. Let the frame move your spine. One more like this. Good. Come back to center and to ground down through the feet, start to tap the toes. Stick top of the right foot down and the top of the left foot down. From here we'll flip the wrist. Take your right thumb to your right armpit and then squeeze your elbow in. Look forward and then flip the hand to place it downward. Move the block out of the way, and you'll take the left hand too. Left thumb to left armpit, elbow squeezes in and back, and then flip the left hand to the earth. This time we'll suck it up to cat and press it out to cow. Inhale cat. Exhale cow, lean slightly forward. Stay here with this speed or just like our little frustrated breath, you can whip it up a little faster. Inhales, exhales, inhales, exhales. If that doesn't feel good, return to a slow but steady movement. Get things going. Take it forward. Don't fester and don't overheat. Two more. Slow. Good. We'll meet in frog. Hands reach forward. The knees can stay narrow underneath the chest or they can move to a wider position like child's pose. Slide your bum back, lengthen your spine nice and long and pause. Not all yoga is quiet and soft. Calm is a conscious place to notice a lot around you, but it's not the constant state of the world. It's okay to move a little faster, but it's good to know how to slow down. Take another grounded breath here, a smooth inhale, followed by a gentle exhale. Inhale, begin to look forward, but keep your bum moving backwards. Imagine your body like the center of a clock and your hands and arms are the arms. Reach your left hand over to the right and then step your right hand out towards one o'clock. The left hand follows, the right hand to two o'clock, and the left hand follows. Press through the hands quite actively, lengthen through both side bodies and then stretch and press the left side back to the left even though you reach to the right. Take a full breath in and a full breath out. Then look forward past your fingertips even and step your left hand back to the left and your right hand follows and we inch and step through center, this time now over to the left side. Left hand moving to eleven o'clock, left hand to ten o'clock and the right hand follows. Press through the hands, stretch the right hip back and even maybe bow your head towards the floor or look gently to the right. A nice deep stretch to the right side body. Big breath in, full breath out. Good, inhale, look forward again past the fingertips and then walk yourself back to child's pose.

Simply roll yourself up through all fours and we'll come again to modified side angle. Step your right foot out to the right and your right hand underneath your right shoulder. Press into the right hand and step your left foot to the back of the mat. Inhale your left hand proud and tall, reach up and spread wide and then exhale, twist, turn and lower. Inhale, stretch, open and extend. Exhale, twist, lower and move through. One more time, big circle with the arms and then exhale back to all fours. Just once, inhale to cat and exhale to cat, look forward. Inhale to neutral center and then set up the left side, left foot stepping out to the left, left hand soundly underneath the left shoulder. Step your right foot to the back of your mat, roll to the sole of the foot and reach the right hand and right hip high. Good, big breath in, feel broad and then exhale round and circle through. Inhales, open, expand, extend and exhales lower. Notice where your arm can go, where it has trouble, which side might be harder to stand on and allow all this awareness to help you move through the world with knowledge and with grace. Right hand, right knee back to the mat, this time to cow on the inhale and the exhale. Inhale to neutral, step the right foot back and then the left high plank to down dog, bending at the hips, lifting through the sit bones, lengthening through the arms and opening through the upper back. Walk your feet slowly to the backs of your wrists, taking as many steps as you need on the sole of the foot or the ball of the foot, whatever feels good to you. I love to rock and kind of notice where the backs of my legs open or not. And then find yourself in a forward fold, just grab opposite elbow and try to shimmy the knees to the armpits. If your body has a few gifts in the way, don't worry. They're natural. Just notice them and breathe. It's good to know where you can go and where you can't. It's good to know how to turn up the heat or turn it down. Release your hands to the earth. Step one foot back and then the other down dog. From down dog, we'll continue to step forward through frustration. Inhale, look forward and step your left foot to the top of your mat. A nice low lunge, left knee into left armpit. Who knew words were so hard. Right hand down, left hand up and for a gentle low twist. You're welcome to stay here through the flow and you would just reach back like this. But if it's comfortable to you, turn both sets of toes out to the left and find this stretch. Press through the right hand to lift through the left side body. Inhale right here. Good. And then exhale, follow the left thumb to the back of your mat as you gently dip the right hip, but stay active through the feet. A big inhale, really rainbows all the way to the front of the mat and back to a low lunge. From low lunge, inhale to a proud high lunge. Press through the right foot, inhale, reach up through the hand, scoop the low belly in and then exhale back to our lovely low lunge. Inhale, high plank, bend the knees, sweep the sit bones up and back down, dog. Right side, inhale, right foot steps forward, good low lunge where the right armpit touches the top of the right knee. Left hand down, inhale, right hand high for a good low twist. You can roll out the wrist if you like. Again, option one is to always stay right here and just follow the gaze with the long legs in a lunge. But if it feels all right, turn the toes to the right. Exhale, lower the left hip, stretch back. Inhale, come up and over. Exhale, back to your low lunge, reset the back left foot. Inhale, high lunge. Expand through the roots that are your legs to lift through your hands and your heart. Inhale, right here. Exhale, low lunge. Inhale, high plank. Exhale, down dog. Take a full breath in and a full breath out. One breath, one movement. Inhale, look forward. Exhale, step the left foot to the top of the mat. Inhale, low lunge. Exhale, stretch back. Inhale, up and over. Exhale, low lunge. Rise up. Inhale, high lunge. Exhale, low lunge. Inhale, high plank. Exhale, down dog. One breath in, one breath out. Inhale, step forward. Exhale, low lunge. Inhale, low twist. Exhale, stretch back. Inhale, rise up and over. Exhale, low lunge. Inhale, high lunge. Exhale, low lunge. Inhale, good old high plank. Exhale, down dog. Full breath in and a full breath out. Offer to stay here or join me one more time. Inhale, look forward. Exhale, step your left foot forward, low lunge. Inhale, low twist. Exhale and stretch. Inhale, reach up and over. Exhale, low lunge. Rise up. Inhale, high lunge. Good. Exhale, low lunge. With strength and integrity, inhale, high plank. Exhale, down dog. Full breath in, full breath out. Inhale here. Exhale, step your right foot forward. Inhale, low twist. Exhale, stretch to the back. Inhale, rise up and over. Exhale, low lunge. Inhale, high lunge. Reach up. Exhale, return to the earth. Inhale, high plank. Exhale, down dog. Look forward and again walk your feet to the top of your space. One foot and then the other. Until you reach the front of your space for a forward fold. Which is not a rest. It's quite hard. Bend your knees into your armpits and lengthen the back of your body on the front, the lower and the upper halves. From here, fingertips to the earth. Step your left foot to the back of your space for a low lunge and roll your left heel in. Bend your right knee and rise up to warrior two. Inhale, lengthen both legs and come to hands to heart. We'll flow through these two shapes three times. Inhale here. Exhale, press it out, fan it out. Warrior two. Inhale, pull in calm. Exhale, let go of frustration. Twice more. Use the breath, exhale and then exhale too. This time rise up through center, lengthen both legs and we'll simply turn to the back of our space. Right toes turn in, left toes turn out. Inhale here and then exhale out to your warrior two. Inhale, hands to heart. And then exhale, press it out. Let the action pull in the esoteric, the things you can't see and let the physical movement have meaning for you. Twice more. Inhale, things you need, want or desire. Exhale, things you're ready to let go. Inhale, back through center, lengthen both legs, turn the left toes in and then exhale back to our warrior two at the top of the mat. Both hands down to the earth, low, good old trusty lunge. Exhale to a down dog. Pause here for a few breaths. Bend your knees, lengthen through the legs, hold your armpits in and breathe.

And then really try to lift the hips off the hands to lengthen the upper body. Last breath in, good. And then lower your knees to the earth and we'll find our props for pigeon. Bring both blankets to the center of your space. Keep them nice and narrow, just like this. If I was a kindergarten teacher, this would be a hot dog shape instead of the hamburger. From here, hands on the earth, you'll step your right foot to the front of your mat to find what is like a modified low lunge. Then walk your left foot back. Both hips will sit right on top of the blankets. Walk your right foot over to the left side of your space. Relax your toes nice and strong if the shin is very horizontal at the front of the space or feel comfortable pulling the heel in and pointing the toe more. It's important to get the right knee in line with the right hip instead of way over to the right. Here we can wrap the left hip over to its side, the left side, and pull the right sit bone back. This way, both sides of the hip are stable and held and we can start to grow roots that cool us in a season full of heat. If it's comfortable, you can supine or I'm sorry, not supine, walk to prone your forehead towards the mat that is. Some people call this sleeping pigeon or if you'd like elbows to the earth, hands can hold the head. This version with the blankets should be much more mild than just the earth, but if at any time you'd prefer to be on your back, a supine figure four from day one will rock your world. Wherever you are, see if you can find breath to mediate the heat of the body. Big cooling breath in, long breath out. One more breath like this and a big breath out. Stay here or there's an option for fire log. This pose has many names, so let's just talk about its shape instead. Right foot will move to the top of the mat so the shin is nice and in line with the top of your space and the left leg will come up and over the top of the right knee. Even if your knees feel really tall, do what you can to use a block to help the feet instead of propping the knee. Take the block and see if you can press all four corners of the foot into the block. From here, take your butt out from behind you and you'll gently lean slightly forward, finding the nice curvature of the low back instead of rounding it. Take a full breath in and no matter what version of pigeon you're in, double pigeon, half pigeon or supine pigeon will start to come out of the pose. Wherever you are, get a little bit longer in the spine. Start to take the legs and unfold them and we'll return to all fours.

If you're on your back, you can simply swap out the legs. If you're going for your left side here and your belly faces the mat, step your left foot to the top of your space and walk the left foot over to the right side of your mat. Keep your toes on the foot nice and active and start to lower the left knee to the earth. Walk the right foot back so that both hips can lay soundly on the blanket. Tuck the foot in or leave it nice and flex towards the top of your mat. You can check in with the leg here and sort of roll the inner thigh in and the outer thigh out. Left knee in front of the left hip. Find length in the spine and when you're ready, maybe you start to walk yourself forward, relaxing, cooling the breath, softening and cooling the mind. Don't be afraid of your heat, your sensation, or the full expression of any of your emotions. Instead, check in with yourself. Notice if they're useful, if they're trying to talk to you, if they're trying to share a message. Then we use our practice to mediate and meditate in the postures with the breath. If you took the option for fire log on the second side, we'll take it now. The right leg comes around, you sit on the blankets for a nice downward slope. Right ankle over the left knee. Shift the gift that is your booty behind you. Sit up nice and tall. Find the arch of the low back, the natural curve of the lumbar spine. Lengthen your heart forward and up and breathe, even if the sensation is intense. You are safe and you are courageous to take the actions to gently change. Stay for one more moment, inhale. No matter what version of pigeon you are, on the exhale, start to unravel. Coming back to all fours or if you're in double pigeon, we'll slide just behind the blankets here. The blankets will help us keep a gentle bend in our knees. Step over them if you're behind them. With the blankets underneath the knees, again shift the butt behind you. Grab for the outsides of your calves and see if you can scoot your heart towards your knees. Like you are trying to fold yourself right in half. Knees into armpits. Lengthen through the heart. Notice that the breath might be a little hard to find here, that's okay. Big breath in, full breath out. We'll learn more about folds later, just two more breaths here. One more big breath in and a full breath out. Simply walk yourself back up to sit, slide your blankets out of the way and we'll gently come down to our backs. Rolling from seated to the floor. Walk your feet to the earth, knock your knees together and pause here. From here, simply lift the knees gently apart and drop them both over to the left side. Then inhale, reach them up through center and exhale them over to the right side. Inhale through center and to the left. Once more inhale through center and over to the right. This time inhale through center and exhale to the left, pausing with the right inner knee moving towards the inner left ankle and if you'd like you can reach your right hand up over your head. You can look back to the right slightly and if it feels good you can always tuck the left heel and ankle on top of the right knee to give more of the right quad a stretch. For some of us this isn't comfortable so know that it's not necessary, it's just an option. Untuck the left ankle over the right and return the left foot to the floor. Then inhale through center and drop the knees over to the right side. Take the right ankle on top of the left knee if it felt good to you and the left hand up over your head. Options are opportunities to grow but they aren't necessarily always the best thing to do. Discern what's best for you and transform it into your practice. Big breath in through center and untuck the right ankle from the left knee. Before Shavasana let's squeeze everything up and in. Knees to chest, arms around the legs or to the backs of the knees, whatever you can get a hold on. Inhale, reach up, squeeze up, good and then fall out. Lying on the floor open the chest, the hands and the feet. Lie here and reconnect to yourself. Adjust the thermostat that is your emotions or your mind or even the physical temperature in your body. Realize that you have a miraculous ability to control your biology and your psychology. You don't have to fight or fester. You are phenomenally talented at relaxing, transforming. Breathe here in stillness for the next minute or more. Inhale, reach up, lift up. Inhale, reach up, lift up. Inhale, reach up, lift up. Inhale, lift up. Stay here as long as you like or if you are ready to greet your day, start to wiggle your fingers almost like you were waving at the other side of your practice.

Reach your hands up overhead and lengthen long and press through your left foot to roll on to the right side. Press all the way up to seated. You can use your blankets or your block will be here for just a moment to close together. Connecting to yourself, to your work and to our community, take your hands to your heart. Reach your thumbs to the center of your forehead and know that we pray your thoughts are full of happiness. Your thumbs to your lips and may your words be full of kindness and your thumbs to your chest. May you cool off and connect through summer. Namaste.


Jenny S
3 people like this.
Steph! I am thoroughly enjoying your creativity and your way with the inspirational words 🙌...my only “complaint” is that I wish these practices were longer...maybe next season?
4 people like this.
I’m so glad you’re enjoying them, Jenny! I’d love to spend more time together doing yoga too 😉 And I love that I can always talk myself into doing at least 30 minutes of yoga during the busy summer days. Im excited to hear your feedback as we explore the rest of the challenge! 
Michelle F
2 people like this.
Hi Steph,
Thanks for this lovely summer treat! Most interesting  cue to  keep knee in line with hip in pigeon....and press foot against the brick...wow that really made a-so far,and im talking 20 years!! inaccessible pose even more intriguing for me. I am not sure what you meant by another repeated instruction - knees to armpits...could you clarify?
Looking forward to continuing the practice - have a beautiful day!
loveandpeacexxx  ;
1 person likes this.
1 person likes this.
Another beautiful practice thank you 
Melissa I
1 person likes this.
Thank you!
Geraldina O
1 person likes this.
Kate M
1 person likes this.
Another gently empowering practice. Thank you, Steph !
Janet M
Way too fast for me
Rain T
From your gentle voice, use of adjectives and the pace of your practice. I love this. Rain
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