Is summer leaving you with a frequently parched mouth, indigestion, lethargy, and temper issues? In case of the latter, Mitesh Thakkar, a yoga therapist, certified pranic healer, and founder, MBS Holistic Clinix, wants you to take a deep breath – actually, a few – and practice yoga to stay cool, calm, and feel nurtured throughout summer. And not just him, early this month, Bollywood’s favourite yogi and co-founder, Sarva Yoga, Malaika Arora too, stressed on the importance of yoga during summers and shared a few exercises that one can practice.
If you look through the lens of Ayurveda, summertime is pitta dosha season, which is one of the three psycho-physiological elements that govern the functions of our mind and body. This dosha is associated with fire and it governs digestion, metabolism, and transformation in our body. And whether we have this dosha in our body constitution or not, we need to pacify it during summer. “An imbalance in pitta or aggravation can cause inflammation, acidity, and anger, and certain yoga asanas can help you to cool your body, mind and emotions,” shares Mitesh.
Practise these yoga postures to calm your agni (internal fire), pacify pitta, and keep it cool this summer, as suggested by Mitesh and Malaika.
The easiest and most familiar posture for beginners, sukhasana is a cross-legged sitting posture. This yogasana aims to help bring peace and calm to your mind, improve stability and concentration, and eliminate stress, anxiety, and fatigue.
How to perform sukhasana:
1. Seat yourself on a yoga mat. Your back should be straight and your legs spread out.
2. Cross your legs alternately and bend the knees inwards.
3. Now place the right foot under the left thigh, and place your hands in gyaan mudra, on your knees.
4. Your waist, back, neck and head must be in a straight line.
5. Close your eyes and meditate.
2. Sheetali Pranayama
One of the top yoga postures for summer, sheetali pranayama is known to reduce the effect of excessive heat/pitta and calm inflammation throughout the body. When thinking of yoga in summer, sheetali pranayama is also favoured since it may kindle the digestive fire and promote healthy digestion. It is also known to soothe the mind in addition to cooling down body temperature.
How to perform sheetali pranayama:
1. Sit down comfortably and place your hands in gyaan mudra as we do in sukhasana.
2. Close your eyes and roll up your tongue so it resembles a tube.
3. Breath in air through your mouth.
4. Now take the tongue inside and close your mouth.
Marjariasana aka cat stretch involves a feline stretch that not only relieves tension from the lower back and neck but also increases flexibility and the circulation of spinal fluid. One of the yoga postures for summer suggested by Malaika, this cat stretch is also popular since it helps release heat.
How to perform marjariasana:
1. Place your hands and knees beneath your shoulders, on the yoga mat.
2. Keep your spine straight so that it's parallel to the ground.
3. Breath in. Now breathe out and at the same time try rounding your back, face facing the ceiling.
4. Ensure that your hands are in the original position.
5. Remember to contract your tummy and push your navel up to the spine when breathing out. When breathing in, let your tummy and spine round downwards, towards the floors, forcing your chin towards the chest.
6. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
4. Pigeon Pose
Also known as kapotasana, this pigeon pose recommended by Malaika helps reduce stiffness in the back and hips, and balances blood pressure. It also helps bid adieu to stress and calms your body and mind.
How to perform pigeon pose:
1. Start with a marjariasana and bring your right shin to the ground.
2. Keep your right knee bent outside your right hip.
3. Stretch your left leg backwards and place your hands on the respective sides of your hips.
4. Lift your chest.
5. Hold for 3-5 breaths and release.
6. Repeat the yogasana with the other leg.
Also known as the corpse pose, shavasana is a type of meditation that is done by lying on the floor. This yogasana cools down your body and mind and improves concentration. Shavasana helps relieve stress and gives your body a chance to unwind and connect to the earth.
How to perform shavasana:
1. Lie flat on the floor and close your eyes.
2. Place your hands on the sides, near the waist, your palms facing upwards.
3. Keep a little gap between your feet.
4. Leave your body loose and inhale-exhale approximately 10-15 times.
5. Focus all your attention on breathing in and out and gain awareness of the surrounding.
6. Stay in the position for 10-20 minutes.
With inputs from Mitesh Thakkar, yoga therapist and pranic healer, and Sarva.com