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Ashtanga on Fire? Cooling Hacks to Conquer the Summer Heatwave

heat wave summer yoga Jun 21, 2024

Beat the Heatwave: Mastering Ashtanga Yoga in Scorching Summer

Sun salutes sizzling? Is downward-facing dog feeling more like a downward-facing puddle? You're not alone. Ashtanga yoga thrives on discipline, but even the most dedicated yogis must adapt when a heatwave hits. Fear not, fellow yogis! This summer, we'll transform your practice from fiery frustration to a cool, refreshing flow.

Hydrate Like a Hydro Warrior

Think of your body as a temple – and during a heatwave, that temple needs serious hydration. Coconut water is a superstar, replenishing electrolytes lost through sweat. Fruity-infused waters add a touch of flavor to keep you guzzling. Avoid sugary drinks – they'll dehydrate you faster! And remember, drink before practice! I know many people who roll out of bed, have coffee, and then get on the mat. Drink a big glass of water first. Your practice will thank you.

Dress for Sweat Success

Ditch the thick cotton—it traps heat. Opt for breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics that let your skin breathe. Think lightweight tanks and yoga shorts. And yes, I know many people who have an aversion to shorts. But I'm telling you, once you get used to them, they are the best.

Ensure you have a practice rug or towel available so your mat doesn't get slippery with your sweat. I like the Manduka eQua mat towel. A small hand towel can be helpful for binds or arm balances if you are sliding. And please wipe up sweat around your mat. Wet floors can be a hazard (and a little gross!).

Cool Down Strategies

  • Cooling Towels: A damp washcloth on your forehead or neck can work wonders. I love fancy studios that have cold washcloths for after class. You can make it fancy with some essential oils. It's luxurious.
  • Practice in the Shade: If you're outdoors, find a shady spot. Early morning or evening practice is ideal during a heatwave.
  • Use a fan: Get some air flowing. It always helps.

Ashtanga with a Twist (Not Literally!)

Don't ditch your Ashtanga practice entirely! Here's how to adapt your poses to beat the heat:

  • Shorten Your Practice: Focus on key Sun Salutations and standing postures. Skip the more intense vinyasas or shorten them with breath breaks.
  • Change Your Pace: During peak heat, slow down your practice. Prioritize proper form. You can try long holds or short holds and see which works better for you, given the heat.
  • Incorporate Cooling Poses: To cool down your body throughout the practice, incorporate poses like Child's Pose, Downward-Facing Dog with knees bent, and Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose. Instead of a vigorous Ashtanga practice, try a restorative or gentle practice. It's a nice change of pace!
  • Listen to Your Body: Dizziness, nausea, or excessive sweating are signs to cool down or stop completely.
  • Don't Overdo It: While your body might feel more flexible in the heat, it’s also easier to overdo it. Be mindful of how warmth can make you more flexible. You may also feel less strong in the heat. It's all an experiment. Notice how you feel and make a mental note.
Practice Cooling Breath Techniques

Breathing techniques can help you stay cool from the inside out. Try Sitali or Sitkari breath. For Sitali breath, roll your tongue into a tube and breathe in through the tube. For Sitkari's breath, breathe through your teeth with your mouth slightly open. These techniques cool the body and calm the mind.

Craving More Cool Yoga Inspiration?

Ready to conquer the heatwave with a customized Ashtanga practice? Join the Summer Yoga Practice Challenge.

Don't let the heatwave disrupt your yoga journey. With a few tweaks and some cool strategies, you can keep your practice flowing and refreshing – all summer long!

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About Jen René

Hey there! I'm a dedicated Ashtanga teacher and fourth series practitioner. I'm also a Pilates enthusiast. I taught my first class in 2005. And since then I have learned lots of amazing tricks that can help you on your own yoga journey.


Connect with Me! @jenreneyoga