Summer is a time of heat and humidity especially here in Queensland. Although many people find the heat unbearable, it is actually a great time to get a good stretch from our asana practices. The heat softens our muscles and helps us ease into our stretches with grace. However those who don’t like hot yoga have two choices – either get it happening early in the morning before the heat of the day sets in or … practice in air conditioning.
For those who do choose to practice in air conditioning, the ideal temperature depends on the type of practice you do. If your practice is strong and fast you will naturally need a cooler room to practice in so you might like to have it at the recommended temperature for gyms which is between 18 – 20 degrees. Just be mindful though of the body cooling down during relaxation, so you might like to have something to put over you when you are lying down. For those who have a more gentle approach the recommendation is around 22 – 25 degrees.
Humidity is also an important factor to take into consideration. When the air it is heavy with moisture it’s harder for the perspiration to be evaporated off the body and our natural cooling system is hampered. It is recommended, therefore, to have fans to blow the cool air around at these times.
For those who do not practice in air conditioning you will be aware that some yoga poses are heating whereas others are cooling. Poses which calm our nervous system and help us to relax are cooling whereas long holds of strong poses, reps, back bends and vinyasas tend to be stimulating to the nervous system and heating. Without air con summer is a good time to lengthen our stay in forward bends, seated poses and restorative poses .
At the end of your practice or any time when you are feeling hot try some breathing practices like Sheetali and Left Nostril Breathing and help your body to cope with the hot Summer months.
By Vrndavan Dasi
Founder and Principal of Veda Yoga Teacher Training