Having always lived in a place where there is summer, it’s been a necessity to understand what the body needs to maintain balance in the heat. Long forgotten are the days when I put lemon in my hair and baby oil on my skin.
You will recognize the signs of being overheated, irritability, sweating, anger, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and lack of patience. Balance is the key here. How do I get my stuff done and stay in balance in the heat?
Most of these tips come from experience. Some of them come from Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, and others are common sense.
- Drink water, always, every day at room temperature or warmer. If you can bare it, set the ice aside. Why? It’s easier for the digestive fires and less shocking for the body when we ingest water that is at a temperature closest to where we are naturally.
- Stay out of the midday sun as much as possible. Plan you day to be outside before 10 am and after 4 pm. Consider exercising in the shade whenever possible.
- Cover up. Protect you head, eyes and body; invest in a large-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and light, cool clothing.
- Be near water whenever possible-streams, lakes, oceans, pools. Living in the desert does not always make this easy so I’ll settle for a cool shower.
- Consider using natural, organic coconut oil after a cool shower at any time of day, which suits your lifestyle. Abhyanga, self massage, has many benefits and the coconut oil is cooling and restorative.
- Eat light and cool foods—fruit, salads, lightly cooked veggies. Avoid heavy meals especially at night. Avoid greasy, fried and processed foods. Eat slowly and when you are hungry.
- Move at a slower pace, relax, and try a gentle or restorative yoga practice. The heat brings many of us out of balance. Slowing down and help correct this. Shitali or shitkare are also cooling pranayama (breathing practices), which can be very useful. It is a gentle inhale through the mouth with a rolled tongue or with the tongue behind the teeth, followed by a gentle exhale through the nose.
- Find what soothes your soul and do it—gentle sounds, music, being in nature, eating with friends, creating. Whatever it is, do it without striving.
- Early to bed and early to rise. Sometimes this may be hard if the sun is in the sky, yet consider getting in bed by 10 pm regularly.
- Finally, take a moment throughout your day to check in. I like to ask, “How are you beautiful body?” and see what comes up. Maybe it’s a deep breath, a glass of water or a nap. Then respond accordingly.
Of course, you don’t have to do all of these things. Choose the ones that resonate with you and do them regularly. As I said earlier, check in with yourself before you’ve reached a place with you are yelling at your kids or screaming vile things at other drivers. Balance, peace, slowness, calm, cool…any of these words could be used to help soothe.
Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions!