August 28, 2013

5 Tips to Practice Yoga in Hot Weather. ~ Sara Elizabeth Ivanhoe

Photo: Dipali S

“What’s wrong with me?!?!”

Everyone seems to be asking this question. If you feel that you have “lost your spark,” or that you are “out of yoga shape” or just can’t seem to do the full practice you normally do—there is nothing wrong with you! It is simply the full heat of summer.

Even inside, the temperatures of the rooms rise unless you are in a full climate control space with no windows. I have been teaching at Yoga Works Main Street studio in Santa Monica, CA since the mid 90s! Every year I find myself yelling out tips to wilting students, who are somehow blaming themselves!

Enjoy this summer heat instead of fighting it. Allow yourself to feel the “union” of you with the world around you.

This means—give yourself a break. Allow yourself to relax and take things down a notch.

In addition, these 5 tips will help you make the most of your time in the room. Just remember in the middle of winter, we are cursing the cold. Enjoy the nourishing warmth while you can and kick into summer vacation mode—skipping a few chatturangas never hurt anyone!

1. Come with a full tank!  

I find it so silly when people come to their workout with a water bottle and casually drink it, thinking this is going to help their hydration. By the time any of that fluid actually gets to your cells, your workout is already over! You must drink way before hand to come to your workout with a full tank.

My advice is to drink two full glasses of water two hours before you exercise. You don’t want a full belly of water jiggling around, so half an hour is a bit too close. You do want the hydration to be digested and flood your system, so give it time to do this. Often people come to their workout and they think they are tired, but really they are just dehydrated. Come with a full tank and watch your efficiency multiply exponentially.

2. Come with a full tank: Part 2

You don’t need coffee or an energy drink—you just need simple food. You cannot get a proper workout if you are low in blood sugar. You cannot be mentally present if you are just thinking of what your next meal will consist of.

Eat a Kind bar. Try the “Cashew and Ginger Spice,” one of the newest flavors. The cashew is very high in protein content, and the ginger will give you a zing, it is a known natural stimulant—perfect for energizing before a workout. I recommend eating the bar no later than 30 minutes before your workout to give your body time to digest and allow the nutrients to flood your system and the ginger to get you going. No one wants to do a workout on a full stomach after a meal. Especially if done in heat, you will get nauseated. Kind bars are actual food that you can see and pronounce.

3. Freeze your drink

Of course you will also have some sort of drink to accompany your workout—you shape readers are a sophisticated audience and you already know this!

However, a great tip is to put your drink in the freezer about two hours before hand so it becomes essentially a “slushy.” If you put it in too far in advance, it will freeze like an ice cube and you won’t be able to drink it. Two hours is about the perfect time. Sip this frozen drink as you do your workout and it will gradually but naturally cool your system as you go.

4. Learn secrets of Ayurveda

I recommend a general study of the system of Ayurveda. There are foods that are warming and foods that are cooling and you don’t want to heat your body just because of ignorance. Get educated!

For instance, lemons are warming to the system, they are great for heating the body during the cold winter months, but during the summer you should use limes instead. Lime water, not lemon water. Coconuts are cooling to the system, great for bringing electrolytes back into the body and cooling you down—not great to consume in the winter time.

5. Sandalwood is a cooling scent

Again in the Ayurvedic system, some are warming some cooling. During the summer months, add a few drops of sandalwood essential oil to your water spritz bottle and give yourself a mist a few times throughout your workout. Spray some on your workout buddy! They will love you for it!

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Assistant Editor: Gabriela Magana/Editor: Sara Crolick

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Sara Elizabeth Ivanhoe