In Part One, we covered what to eat and drink to help you stay cool. As we draw closer to the peak of summer heat, we’ll dive into additional practices to manage this month’s temperatures.
Take a footbath in the evening. After showering to cool off at the end of a hot day, soak your feet in the bathtub or a basin of cool water with a few drops of essential oil such as lavender, peppermint, spearmint, or rose. Soak for 10 to 15 minutes, and as your feet cool off, so will your entire body.
Put your legs up the wall. Sit on the floor with your hips touching the wall and knees bent. As you lift your legs up the wall, lie down, and swing your back so it’s perpendicular to the wall. Legs can be straight, or knees bent with the soles of your feet touching. This restorative yoga posture is almost magical with its profoundly relaxing effects. Legs up the wall is a perfect pose at the end a hot summer day, or right before bed, to cool off and promote a good night’s sleep.
Avoid midday sun and exercising in the heat of the late afternoon and evening. If you’re a driven, fiery individual you might be inclined to exercise at the same time you regularly do. I’m always surprised when I see runners in the blazing afternoon sun, sweating buckets. The body cannot effectively cool itself under these stressful conditions, which can lead to major systemic imbalances. Instead, consider a swim, a (non-heated) yoga class if you know the studio has fans, or switching your outdoor exercise to the cooler, early morning hours.
Loosen up! Heat expands, and tight shoes and clothing begin to feel tighter and constricting later on, generating even more discomfort. Wear looser, lighter colors and breathable fabrics. There’s a practical reason why white clothing is popular in the summer: it reflects the heat instead of absorbing it.
Slow down. When summer is blazing hot, be less rigid about your schedule and make more space. Leave additional time for what you need to do and getting where you need to be. Being rushed, and getting upset or frustrated ignites more heat; that’s why an angry person is called hotheaded. Simply take a few deep inhales and exhales to keep your cool, and to respond rather than react.
It’s easy to discover your dosha, or Ayurvedic constitution via this online quiz. But it’s also possible to think about what season you prefer, and if you’d rather be snow skiing or swimming at the beach. Do you love to stay at home, or to travel? These are all clues to what elements are predominant in our life, and how we can stay in balance.