Even if you regularly practice yoga in hot temperatures, it might seem like too much of a good thing to practice yoga in the summer. Never fear! There are safe ways to practice yoga, even when it's hot outside.
- Stay hydrated: Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. If you drink coffee, tea and juice, you will still need to drink a lot of water. Allow for 30 minutes after practice before replenishing. This allows the body to settle again before taking in more input.
- Let your breath lead: The breath helps you tune into where your body is in the present moment. It also helps your body cool down. If asana (posture) practice feels like too much on the really hot days, then sit for a pranayama (breath work) session instead.
- Slow down: For the vinyasa flow and acro yoga lovers, know that it's okay to slow your practice down. You do not have to prove anything. Any physical activity increases body temperature, so it is best to avoid strenuous and excessive asanas when it is extremely hot. If you just must (I'm looking at my ashtangis!), then practice in the early morning or later in the evening, when temps are at their coolest.
- Choose wisely: If you are practicing at home, consider what asanas will really serve you on the day. For example, inversions can do more harm than good on a really hot day. Even if you're a pro, perhaps a supported version of your inversion will do just fine on a hot day. Forward bends are also great to practice in the heat, as they are considered calming postures.
- Close the space: At the end of any practice, it is important to lie in savasana (corpse pose); that's where the magic happens! After your asana practice on a really hot summer day, the posture is even more essential, as it gives the heart time to do some of its most important work. If you do not suffer from high blood pressure, try taking the legs up the wall in viparita karani, so that all that blood that the heart pumps is gently returned to it.
Happy summer practice!