To cool off this summer, you could jump in the pool, or grab an ice cream from the freezer. Or you could do 10 gentle yoga stretches to help relieve the heat built up in your body from the sun and environment, allowing your body to naturally cool off.
Try these yoga poses, each one helps your body to cool down using breathing techniques or channelling your energy to cool you off.
Let's start by doing a Seated breathing exercise. Come to a comfortable seated position, pushing shoulders down away from your ears, rolling into the front of your sitting bones and breathing. Roll your tongue into a sausage and on an inhale, breath a really big deep breath, filling your lungs. Close your mouth and exhale through the nose. Repeat this 5 times, noticing the coolness of the air flowing over your tongue and up through your nose.
Wide Legged forward bend
This is a great pose to allow the body to cool as the head is lower than the heart so has to work less to pump the blood around the body.
1. Come to a wide legged stance, having feet about 4 foot apart. Turn to the the side and bring heels slightly in and feet slightly turned out.
2. Bring hands to hips. Engage knees into thighs and squeezing qlutes.
3. Inhale lifting the chest and on your exhale hinge forward from the hips keeping the shoulders back.
4. Either keep hands on hips or drop hands to floor in line with your toes.
5. On your inhale lift up slightly and on your exhale fold forward slightly more bringing the chest towards the middle. Stay here for 5 breaths and come up inhaling slowly.
Tree pose is an all-round fantastic posture. It stretches out your entire body. It strengthens thighs, calves, ankles, and spine. It stretches the groin, inner thighs and pelvis, chest and shoulders. It improves sense of balance, relieves sciatica and reduces flat feet. It also builds concentration and balance.
1. Start with your feet hip distance apart and find a fixed gaze point just in front of you.
2. Engage your core muscles, tucking pelvis slightly under.
3. Spread your standing toes wide, feeling all four corners of the ground around your foot. Bring your kneecap slightly up on your standing leg so you are engaging your quads (Quadriceps muscles are the front of your thighs)
4. Find your gaze point just in front of you or at your eye line in front. As you shift your weight through to the standing foot, slightly start to lift off the other foot, placing it on your inner calf or thigh.
5. On your bent knee, have your toes pointing towards the floor. Press your heel into the inner side of the thigh or calf.
6. Rest your hands on your pelvis to start with, then bring your hands into prayer position in front of your chest or bring them above your head keeping shoulders away from ears.
7. Stay here for up to one minute. Come back to the centre and repeat on the other side.
Lunges are great for helping target hip flexors and lower spine. They also cool the body down. Lunges are a great way to keep the hips supple and build strength in the thighs and lower back.
1. Come on to all fours. Have knees stacked under hips. and hands under shoulders.
2. Bring one foot in line with your hands, keeping your knee stacked above your ankle. Push forwards slightly to open the lower back and hips.
3. Move your other leg backwards slightly keeping your knee on the floor and bring your thigh towards the floor. Press into the front foot, making sure the knee is not folding in on itself. Wrap the inner thigh outwards and look at your big toe. If you can’t see the toe then push the knee out further, keeping an eye on any injuries to the knee or hip area.
4. Bring your hands to your hips, wrapping them around your waist or place them interlaced onto the top of the thigh.
5. To advance it further bring your arms up above your head, keeping shoulders down away from ears and palms facing towards each other, shoulder width apart or together. Engage your glutes (buttocks) and press down into the ball of the back foot. Engage core and pull pelvic floor muscles up into the abdomen.
6. 6. Stay here for up to five breaths. Slowly lower down, coming back onto all fours and repeat on the other side.
Follow Instructions for Low Lunge but when arms are up above the head start to bend backwards pushing the chest forwards and arching through the the lower spine.
This is a great pose to release tightness in the pelvis and hamstrings. It is also a great pose to cool down and breath.
1. Come to a kneeling position and bring one foot forward resting the heel on the mat. Bring the hands to the floor and flex the toes. Have the front leg straight. Squeezing your glutes and engage your core.
2. Push backwards through the hips, feeling a stretch through the back of your front leg. Drop your chest towards the front leg and breath.
3. Breath and stay here for 5 breaths.
4. Release and swap sides.
This is a great hip opener and releases tension in your hips. A lot of people find there is so much tightness in the hips due to long periods of sitting for work.
1. Come into a seated position onto the floor. Roll slightly onto the front of the sitting bones so the pubis is at the front and the tail bone is at the back. Pull out your glutes so you can feel your sit bones on the floor.
2. Bring your feet in towards you clasping your feet with your hands. Try to open out your feet like you are reading a book.
3. Lift up through the sit bones, lengthening through the spine and stretching up through the crown of your head.
4. On every exhale, move your knees out to the sides feeling the hip flexors opening, aiming to get knees parallel to the floor. Engage your core muscles and open through the chest.
5. To advance in the pose slightly, pulse your knees outwards releasing more tension like a butterfly flapping its wings. Stay here for one to five minutes.
6. Release by bringing knees closer together and allow legs down coming back to the start position.
This pose is great at releasing tightness and tension in the pelvis and lowers the heart rate as your head is lower than your heart so its having to work less to pump blood around the body.
1. Come to all fours position, hands under shoulders and knees under hips.
2. Start to push back your pelvis towards the heels.
3. Bring the forehead the kiss the mat. Reaching your hands forwards and spreading your fingers wide for a shoulder stretch or bring hands to hug heels drooping shoulders over knees or bring one arm forward and bring the other arm under for a shoulder and spinal twist. For a hip stretch have the knees wide, or bring them closer together for a calming relaxing pose.
4. Stay here for 1-5 minutes.
This is such a wonderful pose to fully relax and feel connected and calm. If seated, get comfortable and have hands resting wherever is comfortable. If laying down, have your feet more than hip distance apart, hands down by your sides slightly away from your chest, having the palms facing towards the sky. Gently push your shoulders down away from your ears and tilt your head so your chin is slightly facing towards the chest. This will lengthen the spine. Gently close your eyes and bring the tongue away from the roof of your mouth. Have your jaw slightly open, releasing tension in your face. Move any part of your body you need to, to feel comfortable. You need to fully release all the muscles. Fully release all the thoughts. Fully release all the tension kept in your body. Have a wriggle, have a giggle and then settle down to your final comfortable relaxation state. Breathe, Slowing relaxing all the muscles from the tips of you toes right up to the back of the head. Stay here for 5, 10 or 15 minutes.
So now you can help cool yourselves off during the heat of the summer.