Stay Cool the Ayurvedic Way

Kripalu School of Ayurveda

It’s hot out there! But maybe you don’t need to turn up the air conditioning just yet. Larissa Hall Carlson, Kripalu Schools faculty member and former Dean of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda, says that changing up your yoga routine; adding certain herbs, fruits and vegetables to your diet; and even wearing particular colors can minimize the risk of getting overheated.

Here are some of Larissa’s self-care tips for staying refreshed:

  • Hydrate: Try light and refreshing coconut water, or add mint, cucumber, or lime to plain water. Drink 6–8 cups per day. Include plenty of veggies and fruits in your summer diet (watermelon, juicy berries, cucumbers etc.).
  • Wear shades of blue, green, and white. Larissa says the seaside colors have a cooling effect on the mind.
  • Light up some incense; sandalwood, lavender, and rose help relax pitta.
  • Wash up: If you don’t have time for a cooling shower, try rinsing your feet with cool water, which immediately cools the body and mind, or spritzing yourself with rose water, which is cooling and slightly astringent in nature—great for refreshing the skin and mind.
  • Freshen your mouth: Brushing teeth, gargling, or chewing on a mint or tea tree–flavored toothpick not only keeps your breath smelling nice, but leaves you refreshed.

Larissa also offers a few suggestions for your summertime yoga practice:

  • Practice yoga during the cooler times of day: early morning and evening. Arrive at class early to avoid the rush, settle into your space, and relax with some gentle stretching, or take Savasana.
  • Try turning your palms up when seated to create a sense of coolness and openness.
  • Practice wide-legged postures such as Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby pose), Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle), or Upavistha Konasana (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend). These postures help expel heat from the groin and thighs. When you finally make it to Savasana, spread your limbs far apart, relax, and enjoy!
  • Take a vacation from competition. If you tend to overheat in summer and get agitated easily, try treating yoga class as a way to maintain your strength, flexibility, and balance while reducing stress and frustration. Try a restorative or yin class, and wait until fall to put extra energy into learning vigorous new postures or flows. Your pitta will appreciate the break.

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