How and Why to Heat Up Your Yoga Practice Without Burning Out
Christine Chen, Certified Yoga Teacher and Author | My Body
As yogis, we build internal heat through movement and breath to burn up and eliminate toxins, revitalizing our energies. However, during the dog days of summer, there is such a thing as too much down dog intensity. If you overheat through your asana (poses), you might find yourself gasping for air and getting stressed. The combination could make you tired or aggravated instead of refreshed. If you push yourself too hard through the heat, you could also hurt yourself, physically.
When you head to class, use this simple guide to heat up your yoga the right way. You’ll feel supported, rather than burned out, in the late, sticky summer.
Find Simplicity Within Challenge
No need to rev up the engine so much that it overheats and combusts. Move more deliberately and keep things simple, which helps build focus. Slow down and pay attention as you transition between poses, and concentrate on breathing deeply throughout. Take more Basics and Level One classes, which are quite challenging (even for advanced yogis) and help yogis develop more clarity – a perfect way to practice in late summer.
Know the Difference Between Vigor and Overexertion
We must move to build beneficial heat, but overexertion when it’s hot can leave you feeling taxed, and maybe even a bit sick. Everyone is different, but listen to your body and take a small break from the motion if you find yourself struggling, “performing” the poses, or judging yourself. Rejoin the class when you can breathe fully and be cool-headed as you practice, rather than a hot-headed perfectionist. That said, when you experience a bit of discomfort (not pain), you’re meeting your edge, which is a sign that you’re evolving.
Seek Restoration and Meditation
Though you like to move, in the dead of summer, it’s wise to seek out Restorative yoga classes, which sets up your body for long-held poses to foster deep release and rejuvenation. You’ll actively nourish your body through stillness.
Similarly, meditation actively cultivates mindfulness for calm and clarity. Combined with breath awareness, you’ll support your entire nervous system and feel less frazzled as you try to squeeze in every last activity during the final days of summer.
Also important to remember: be well hydrated before you enter class, and have water handy. Don’t gulp. Sip, so you maintain the internal heat that helps you let go for a lighter, brighter mind, body, and spirit.