I often wonder what other countries think about us Brits in summer; the second we get any continental weather we really seem to struggle! I tend to go on the principle that as hot weather is such a rarity that I refuse to complain, but it can be uncomfortable to say the least. Whilst we can strategically open windows at night and keep curtains closed all day long, certain aspects of our day -particularly anything involving movement -can be difficult. Runs become an early morning affair, gym and studio air con is a must, but what about home yoga practice? Trying to lunge into a deep stretch whilst your tight leggings are gripping to your sweaty skin is hardly the most zen of experiences. However, the last thing that I want to do is let my yoga practice slip during a heat wave -if anything, it makes me want to practice even more! Beachside yoga anyone? I’ve complied my top suggestions for keeping your yoga flowing during the heat, with some tips that can also be applied to any home workout.
Traditionally, Sun Salutations are supposed to be practiced at or before dawn anyway (see my guest post all about it here), so setting your alarm back to first light -or as close to it as you can manage – lets you both connect with tradition and avoid the heat. Start gently to let your body wake up whilst enjoying the early morning sunshine. Keep a glass of warm water or herbal tea to the side to keep you hydrated, then after Shavasana have a well deserved breakfast!
Check your Wardrobe
In hot weather, my usual go-top thick, opaque leggings no longer cut it. Instead, I opt for shorts, thinner leggings (try Teeki, Dharma Bums and Liquido Active) or my Bohemian Island harem pants. These light fabrics don’t impart movement and let your skin breath. Wear a thin fitted vest (floaty tops that don’t stay up when in downward dog are just too annoying!) or rock the yoga bra on it’s own.
Embrace the Heat
Yoga has come from a country known for its hot climate and you may well have also practiced hot yoga far above average UK temperatures. Instead of trying to avoid the heat, go with it and enjoy the benefits of the raised temperatures on helping your muscles to relax and stretch. Just remember not to jump straight into a deep splits before you’ve warmed up and prepared you muscles for it!
Take it Slow
Instead of trying to keep up with your normal Vinyasa routine, try a more yin-style class. Slow down your routine and enjoy holding and surrendering into postures, holding for a few deep breaths or even a few minutes. This is a more gentle way of utilising the heat to relax into stretches, and will leave you feeling lighter and more comfortable post-practice.
Skip the Ice
Iced drinks and sticking your toes into a bowl of cold water may feel amazing initially, but they can send signals to your brain that your body is cold, resulting in your body employing methods to warm you back up again -leaving you even hotter. Try to keep your drinks closer to room temperature , or at least not completely ice cold. You’ll feel much more refreshed this way, but don’t let this tip stop you from enjoying a cheeky ice cream now and then!