I recently had the privilege to teach a workshop at Hemma Yoga in Victoria, BC. Students gathered to learn about specific asana, pranayama, foods and ayurvedic self care specific for the summer time.
In ayurveda summer is the pitta time of year when the fire is hot both internally and externally. It’s important to focus on practices, routines and foods that have cooling qualities.
To balance pitta and stay cool and calm throughout the heat of summer: follow a pitta-pacifying diet; stay cool; avoid competitive sports and focus on less goal-oriented forms of exercise or fun; avoid the hot sun in the middle of the day; relax in nature; eat when you feel hungry; and practice sheetali pranayama.
In my 85 hour Ayurvedic Yoga Training (next program is Sept 17-22nd in Vancouver, BC), I educate the teachers about how to teach from an Ayurvedic perspective. There are yoga postures that increase and decrease heat and it’s important in the summertime to be focused on the postures and specific approach that will soothe pitta (fire + water elements).
Here are some concepts to consider when teaching or taking a class or doing your own home practice.
|Key words||Cooling, relaxing, surrender, forgive, gentle, non-competitive, heart expanding, slow, patience, presence, playful|
|Region||Asanas to compress and extend the solar plexus (small intestine & liver)|
|Asanas (examples)||Seated poses: baddha konasana, siddhasana, vajrasana/ virasana, supta virasana,
Standing (especially to open hips): vrksasana, trikonasana, ardha chandrasana, prasaritta padottanasana
Navasana, fish, bhujangasana, dhanurasana, tortoise/ kurmasana, supta padangusthasana
All seated fwd folds: janu sirsasana, wide leg seated/ upavistha konasana, paschimottanasana
*Inversions/ having the head below the heart increase pitta. Hold these only for a short time or avoid.
|Pranayama||Nadi shodhana, full yogic breath, abdominal breathing, shitali/ sheetkari, brahmari, lunar pranayama|
|Savasana||Medium length, use of eye pillow, sandbags, bolsters|
|Signs of balance||Calm, patient, tolerant, loving, cool, feeling less inflammation/ frustration/ irritation|
I guided the students through this yoga flow, starting in savasana (corpse pose), lying on their back to ground their energy, slow them down and give them the opportunity to pause and check in before beginning to move.
Listen and practice along to this 35-minute soothing and cooling pitta pacifying summer practice.