Yoga helps people to enjoy the excitement and thrill that summer brings
By Dr Vedamurthachar
In summer, changes in environment lead to many physiological changes in our body cycle. The summer heat and long days trigger metabolic activities which cause many changes in the body-mind set-up. Certain changes in the food habit and the practice of yoga as well as pranayamas can help create a harmony within us.
These changes are usually influenced by the seasons themselves, including hours of day light, foods which are good for the season are available in abundance, weather and seasonally inspired activities.
The summer months are a time of light and warmth. To balance the heat and energy during the season, our body cultivates the opposite environment-cool and calm- inside.
According to Ayurveda, summer inspires the pitta dosha. The doshas are the bodily humours that help to create one’s individual constitution, and there are three different doshas: vata, pitta, kapha.
Pitta is driven predominately by the solar force, so when the natural cycle of the seasons brings us to the sunny summer months, it is important to pacify the natural pitta inside our bodies so that we aren’t meeting the hot, fiery external climate with a similar internal energy. In doing so, we allow ourselves to enjoy the full excitement and thrill that summer brings, without being flooded by too much of one energetic force.
But how do we balance that pitta energy? During this time of year, a good counter for the sunny weather would be to create a lunar current within the body by focusing on activities and foods that are cooling. This approach will nourish your system and help increase your energy levels.
Moon salutations- a variation of sun salutations, done with low vibratory feeling. rather than jumping forward, try to walk forward. Supported back bending, Backward bending to be done with a support like yoga block beneath the low back. Leg up the wall, lie down on the back, perpendicular to the wall, tailbone flush against the wall, rise the legs straight up. Supported shoulder stand with a towel under the shoulder to support the shoulder. Floor twists can be done either lying on the floor or sitting. All these variations or alterations send a calming wave through the nervous system.
After you complete your asanas, weave in one or both of the following.
Shitali Pranayama: This technique is done by curling the sides of your tongue towards one another and sticking your tongue out through your lips. Inhale through your rolled tongue and exhale out through the nose. Repeat 5-20 times. If you have difficultly curling your tongue, try making a donut shape with your lips instead; inhale through the lips, exhale through the nose.
Single-Nostril Breathing: This technique isolates one nostril. For the summer months, we are targeting the left nostril, which is called the Ida Nadi (subtle channel), which is the body’s cooling channel and is located on the lunar side of the body. Plug the right side of the nostril and breathe in and out through the left nostril for 5-20 breaths.
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