The Best Sun Salutation for Summer—Stay Cool
Some yoga poses can make you warmer than others, especially in the hot and humid months. But did you know that the best sun salutation for summer is one that will allow you to move, relax, and reset while keeping you from overheating?
Ayurveda (yoga’s sister science) is designed to help us embrace life more deeply by syncing with the seasons and balancing our minds, bodies, and spirits.
Yoga postures and their sequencing and pace can either support or deplete your health, depending on your state of being.
During the summer months, we want to focus on cooling ourselves. Even though we need to move and keep our bodies in good physical condition, we don’t want to overheat ourselves by doing a strenuous yoga practice.
Yoga Isn’t Just about Stretching
Yoga is different from simply stretching because it uses your breath to create a physiological change in your nervous system. The combination of the two allows you to relax and feel rejuvenated during and after your practice.
Sun salutations are a great way to incorporate your entire body into a sequence that is led by your breath. When you choose the right sun salutation for the energetic outcome that you want to create, you can better support your health.
During the hottest months of the year, the best sun salutation for summer avoids the potential pitfalls of rushing through and overheating.
Best Sun Salutation for Summer Sequence
- Stand with your feet wider than your hips (about as wide as a yoga mat).
- Bring your hands in front of your chest in prayer position (anjali mudra).
Interlace your fingers and lift your elbows horizontally to the ground.
- Inhale and gently pull your elbows and fingers apart.
- Exhale, turning your palms away from you and extending your arms forward as you drop your chin to your chest and open your upper back between your shoulder blades.
- Inhale as you reach your arms overhead and stretch your waist.
- Exhale as you lean to the right and stretch the left side of your body.
- Inhale back to center.
- Exhale as you lean to the left and stretch the right side of your body.
- Inhale back to center.
- Exhale, releasing your hands and allowing your arms to stretch outward and fall behind your back.
- Inhale as you interlace your fingers behind you and straighten your elbows.
- Exhale, folding forward from your hips with your knees bent.
- Inhale as you stay in this forward fold with your chest between your legs and your interlaced hands moving away from your back.
- Exhale, holding the same position.
- Inhale and begin to lift your body back to standing.
- Exhale as you reach your arms back overhead and bring your palms to meet, lowering them in front of your chest.
- You should now be in the same standing position as when you began—legs apart with your hands in prayer position.
Now you’re ready to repeat the sequence again.
Shift from Stress to Relaxation
I recommend starting with three rounds of this soft sun salutation sequence using a balanced inhale and exhale. For example, you can inhale and perform the appropriate movement as you count to six, then exhale and perform the next movement as you count to six.
This will result in each round taking about one minute. With three rounds or more, your nervous system will begin to switch to the parasympathetic state (relaxation response) if it was previously in the sympathetic (fight or flight) state.
That’s all it takes to begin to stretch your body while keeping your cool. You’ll also find yourself craving the stress relief that this sun salutation sequence provides.
Don’t forget to incorporate the best sun salutation for summer into your daily yoga practice.
The key is to actually implement this sun salutation sequence into your daily routine. You can use things that you already do, like going to lunch, to anchor this new habit—or use an alarm on your phone to remind you to refresh and reset your nervous system throughout the day.
Give it a try, then post your results in the comments below. I would love to know if you feel cool and balanced the more you integrate this sequence into your daily summer habits.
Photo credit: Kristopher Allison