Cooling Yin Yoga Poses For Summer

July 7, 2024
July 7, 2024 Claire

Cooling Yin Yoga Poses For Summer

Summer is a time for sun, fun, and sometimes, sweltering heat. I’m in California, and the summer temperatures slowly rise daily. While we enjoy the brightness and energy of the season, it’s equally important to find ways to cool down and stay balanced. The Yang energy of our lives and the added summer heat can be overwhelming sometimes. With its slow and meditative approach, Yin Yoga can be an excellent practice to help us find our cool energy during the hot summer months. Here are some cooling Yin Yoga poses that you can incorporate into your practice to stay refreshed and calm.

1. Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana)

Benefits:

  • Opens the hips and groin.
  • Stimulates the digestive system.
  • The hips are a common area for storing emotional stress; opening and relaxing this area can lead to emotional release.
  • By gently folding forward, Butterfly Pose can help release tension in the lower back.

How to:

  1. Sit on the mat and bring the soles of your feet together.
  2. Allow your knees to drop out to the sides, forming a diamond shape with your legs.
  3. Gently fold forward from your hips, keeping your spine long.
  4. Rest your hands on your feet or the floor in front of you.
  5. Hold for 3-5 minutes, breathing deeply and allowing your body to relax into the stretch.

 

2. Dragonfly Pose/Straddle Pose (Upavistha Konasana)

Benefits:

  • Stretches the hamstrings, inner thighs, and spine.
  • Calms the mind.
  • Can be a preparatory pose for deeper forward bends and other advanced yoga postures.
  • The pose encourages better blood flow to the pelvic region and legs.

How to:

  1. Sit with your legs extended wide apart.
  2. Slowly hinge forward at your hips, keeping your spine long.
  3. Place your hands in front of you, or rest them on blocks for support.
  4. Hold for 3-5 minutes, focusing on your breath and letting gravity do the work.

3. Caterpillar Pose/ Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)

Benefits:

  • Stretches the spine and hamstrings
  • Stimulates the kidneys and soothes the nervous system
  • The gentle compression of the abdomen stimulates the digestive organs.
  • Regular practice of this pose can enhance overall flexibility in the spine, hamstrings, and calves.

How to:

  1. Sit with your legs extended straight in front of you.
  2. Hinge forward from your hips, letting your back round naturally.
  3. Rest your hands on your legs, feet, or the floor.
  4. Hold for 3-5 minutes, breathing deeply and allowing your body to release tension.

4. Reclined Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

Benefits:

  • Stretches the back and shoulders.
  • The twisting motion helps stimulate the lymphatic system, supporting the body’s immune function and detoxification processes.
  • Regular practice of this pose can help improve overall body alignment and balance.
  • Provides a gentle stretch to the hips and glutes.

How to:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Extend your arms out to the sides in a T shape.
  3. Gently drop your knees to one side, keeping your shoulders grounded.
  4. Turn your head to the opposite side if it feels comfortable.
  5. Hold on each side for 3-5 minutes, breathing deeply into your belly.

5. Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)

Benefits:

  • Relieves tired legs and feet
  • Calms the mind and reduces anxiety

How to:

  1. Sit with one side of your body against a wall.
  2. Swing your legs up the wall as you lie down on your back.
  3. Adjust your position so that your hips are as close to the wall as is comfortable.
  4. Rest your arms by your sides, palms facing up.
  5. Hold for 5-10 minutes, focusing on slow, deep breaths.

6. Savasana (Corpse Pose)

Benefits:

  • Promotes relaxation and stress relief.
  • Savasana provides a safe space for emotional release and healing.
  • Balances the nervous system.
  • The relaxation induced by this pose can help lower blood pressure.

How to:

  1. Lie flat on your back with your legs extended and arms by your sides.
  2. Close your eyes and take deep, calming breaths.
  3. Allow your entire body to relax and sink into the mat.
  4. Stay in this pose for at least 5-10 minutes, enjoying the feeling of complete surrender.

Tips for Practicing Yin Yoga in Summer

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water before and after your practice to stay hydrated.
  • Practice in a Cool Space: Choose a cool, shaded area to avoid overheating. I sometimes place a fan near my mat for a gentle breeze throughout my practice. Sometimes, opening the window is enough, too!
  • Use Props: Bolsters, blocks, and blankets can help you find comfort and ease in each pose.
  • Wear Breathable Clothing: Choose lightweight, breathable fabrics to stay comfortable and cool.
  • Focus on Your Breath: Deep, slow breaths can help cool your body and calm your mind.

Incorporating these cooling Yin Yoga poses into your summer routine can help you stay balanced, relaxed, and refreshed. Remember to listen to your body and move at your own pace. Enjoy the stillness and peace that Yin Yoga brings, and let it be a soothing balm during the heat of summer. Check out my YouTube video below for a full sequence to add to your summer routine!