Yoga to Balance Your Summer HealthJul 25, 2023
Summer Yoga Guide
When Seasons Change, So Do We.
Our bodies cycle through an organic fluctuation that harmonizes and creates balance within us. These organic changes are largely influenced by the seasons, hours of daylight, foods, weather patterns, and activities.
Our intelligent bodies adjust to these changes naturally, but we can support an improved state of balance by making conscious choices and adjusting lifestyles according to seasons to live in harmony with the cycles of nature.
An Ayurvedic / Yogic Approach to Create Inner Body Balance
In Ayurveda, it is said that we all have unique constitutions (dosha). Depending upon your constitutions, you can take more personalized approaches to harmonize your inner state. In the Ayurvedic approach, it is usually considered that "like increases like" and that "opposites balance". That is why cooling and calming yoga poses, breath work, foods, and activities are recommended if you are experiencing overheated inner state.
Summer is "Pitta" Season
The most distinctive characteristic of summer is the "heat". It is the long days of bright sun, the sharp intensity, and the transformative nature. These qualities are in line with "Pitta(fire)" dosha(constitution). Therefore, summer is considered a "pitta season. Summer can be humid in some regions, but heat and the sun can dry things out quickly, so the qualities of "Pitta" season are "hot" and "dry".
General Recommendations for Pitta Season Yoga
Yoga for Pitta Season
Pitta = Fire, Intensity, Dryness
Cultivate more cool and calm.
To balance the overstimulated pitta tendencies, it is recommended to incorporate these in your daily practice:
Cultivate more gentle, fluid, and relaxed effort with inner awareness. Rather than pushing yourself to the maximum in each pose, and holding the pose with the fullest effort, focus on grounding yourself in the present moment with receptivity: A soft and gentle gaze and gentle stable breath can be helpful.
Some examples of cooling poses and practices:
- Seated and reclined poses (ex: supported bridge pose, floor twists)
- Gentle Forward Folds [Seated and standing] (ex: Child's pose)
- Supported inversion (ex: Legs up the wall)
- Longer Savasana (Corpse Pose)
If you are practicing at studios, look for
Cooling Breath Work (Pranayama)
Following cooling Pranayama (breath work) are wonderful to incorporate after Asana (poses), or practice on its own.
- Left-Nostril Breathing: This technique isolates one nostril (left side) which is the body’s cooling channel and is located on the body’s lunar (left) side. Close the right side of the nostril with your thumb, and breathe in and out through the left nostril slowly and gently (Repeat 1~3 minutes).
- Sitali Pranayama: This technique is done by inhaling through the mouth, and exhaling through the nose. Curl up the sides of your tongue towards one another with the tongue. Stick your rolled tongue out in between your upper and lower teeth, and through your lips. Inhale through your rolled tongue. At the top of the inhale, close your lips, and exhale out through the nose. Repeat for 1~3 minutes.
- If you cannot curl your tongue easily, you can try Sitkari breath. Gently press your lower and upper teeth together and separate your lips as if you are making a big smiley face to expose your teeth. Separate your upper and lower teeth ever so slightly, and inhale slowly through the gaps in the teeth and focus on the hissing sound of the breath. Close the mouth and slowly exhale through the nose. Repeat for 1~3 minutes.
Your body may like one technique over another. Always, listen to your body, and trust your instincts and inner guidance on these recommendations. Remember to do what feels right for you.
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