The Cooling Yoga Poses to Take When Class Gets Too. Dang. Hot.

Photo:Getty Images/Zave Smith
We've officially reached the point in the summer where it's gone from "fun in the sun" weather to "too damn hot to be outside." As I type this, it is 103-degrees in New York City, there is sweat in places I didn't know it was possible to sweat, and I am legitimately praying to the air conditioning gods to make mine work more efficiently.

While you likely have your own tips and tricks for dealing with these rising temps (personally, I've been sleeping with a cup of ice next to my bed), there's a wellness-savvy way to beat the heat that you may not have tried yet: yoga. We tapped Wanderlust Wellest Challenge instructor, Andrew Sealy to tell us how.

When it's hot, a few different things happen to your body—aside from sweat, that is. "When it’s super hot outside blood vessels widen and blood flow increases," explains Sealy. So where does yoga come in? "Yoga helps your body regulate heat on those super hot days," he says, adding that the process can also be used as a means of "cooling the body and reducing inclination when the temperature outside becomes overbearing." Here, he shares three poses that can help with the process.

1. Child's pose: This is one of the best cooling poses there is—there's a reason why so many teachers use it as a resting pose after an intense vinyasa sequence. "You can use child’s pose anytime throughout your day when you're feeling the heat," says Sealy. To get into this cooling posture take a wide stance kneeling position with your big toes touching, then rest your bottom on your heels and allow your chest to rest in between or on your legs depending on your flexibility. Allow your head to rest on the ground and find the earth as a support for your restoration. 

2. Supine spinal twist: "When it’s hot outside, one of the best things you can do is retreat to the cooling sensation of laying on your back," says Sealy. "This supine spinal twist only requires you to bring your knees into your chest then allow them to come to one side, and as you do so, you will feel the cooling sensation of blood flow switch from your internal organs to the extremities of your body." Just be sure to spend equal time on both sides of your body to ensure you'll feel cooled throughout. 

3. Reclined bound angle pose: When all else fails (aka you're too freakin' hot to move), get down on the ground and relax in a reclined bound angle pose. "All you have to do is lay down on your back and find what it feels like to surrender to the support of the Earth," says Sealy. "The bound angle comes from having the feet together and the knees wide relaxes the hips and allows the groin to feel a release of tension from the heat of standing, walking, and running around." Cycle through at least 10 breaths, and focus on the cooling sensation of the ground. 

One more thing you can do in operation survive summer weather: Add more intention to the way you're breathing. "Find some shade to practice using your tongue to create a vacuum to cool your inhales," says Sealy. "Exhaling through your lips will cool your exhales. When you feel the heat wave coming, tap back into your inner chill and think cool thoughts."

If you're a hardcore hot yoga goer, don't worry—it's still totally safe to hit your favorite heated studio in the summer. And if you want to be sure you're reaping the maximum benefits from your yoga practice, this is how often you need to be hitting the mat.

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