Lately I can’t step outside without my entire body instantly becoming covered in sweat. Sure, it's a nice detox, but I’m sticking to everything from my car seat to mosquito feet. Ack! The problem with unbearable East Coast heat is that it tends to make me cranky and sluggish, and I'm tired of being in a near-constant state of heat-induced exhaustion. What can be done? I can't move to a cooler climate, and must face reality.
That's why this week's column is on using yoga to combat an unavoidable summer swelter.
Feed My Melon
There are foods and drinks that act as heaters and coolants for my body. Fried foods, red meat, coffee, non-cultured dairy, wine (double ack!) and any alcohol when ingested create an environment that allows negative bacteria to proliferate. Ew.
Here’s a surprise: vegetables and fruits that are in season – particularly melons, leafy greens, cucumbers, avocados – and drinks like lemon water, green tea – even hot tea – and tons of water in general are all cooling for the system and tend to act as flushers and detoxifiers for bacteria. Yogurt’s good, too because it contains positive bacteria that combats all the nasties.
Suck it in... And then moon someone.
No, really. Suck air. Remember when you were a kid and everyone tried to see if they could curl their tongue? If I simply curl my tongue and use it like a straw to sip the air it actually cools my body. No kidding. Old yogi trick. And I can do it anywhere. At my desk. At red lights when the sun is oppressively beating down on me. Even while I’m paddleboarding! Yay!
Most people who have heard of yoga know about sun salutations, but yogis also salute the moon. And this time of year is the perfect time to engage in a more cooling than heating practice. Moon salutations incorporate child’s pose in lieu of downward dog and cobra instead of upward dog. And by all means give myself permission to take a knee in crescent pose!
It's not just for your hair
When I was in India I got a massage where I was practically drowned in oil. It was kinda weird, but extremely awesome for my body. During the winter months my skin gets dry and oil definitely helps then, but during the summer I can get dehydrated. Not just on the outside but on the inside. I make sure to use oils on my skin and cook with healthy, light oils - like grapeseed - to keep my joints lubed up. I’ve also been taking a fish oil supplement that’s helped with both my energy level and my moods. Double yay!
Water, water, water. And Often.
The earth and my body are mostly composed of water. And in the summer months I sweat off a ton of the very stuff I need to function. While it’s cleansing to sweat, I need to replenish constantly. Both inside and out. I take cooler showers and baths. And I make sure to take an occasional dip off my paddleboard when the sun isn’t giving me a break.
Because if I don’t look out for myself in the summer the sun will get the best of me. And while the sun is awesome and life giving, it’s important for me to take it in moderation. And pay attention to it. And to my body.