It is important to keep up your daily practice in hot months. We need the mental and physical stamina that yoga practice provides. We want to practice in such a way that generates useful heat and that does not leave us depleted, as we leave the artificial coolness of the yoga studio and go back out into the elements of the natural world.
From the Iyengar yoga perspective, it is important to incorporate cooling poses like Baddha Konasana, Upavistha Konasana, Supta BaddhaKonasana, Supta Sukhasana, Setu Bandha, Viparita Karani and Salamba Sarvangasana into practice. Supported Sarvangasana is particularly helpful for the hot months. You can stay in this cooling pose much longer with the support of a chair.
Sirsasana is a heating pose. Do keep up your sirsasana practice but be sure to balance it with longer stays in sarvangasana. Similarly, standing poses are heat-generating poses. We need them to develop strength and stamina and determination, but consider doing some of your standing pose practice with the support of ropes or a simple wall. Chairs can also help enhance a supported standing pose practice.
Finally pranayama is also particularly important during hot weather. Pranayamas that emphasize exhalations are more cooling than those that emphasize inhalations. Pranayamas like Ujjayi 2 and Viloma 2 are accessible to even the beginning level student. Ujjayi 6 and Viloma 4 are good pranayamas for those who have an established seated pranayama practice. Digital pranayamas, particularly Anuloma and Chandra Bhedna are very cooling. Nadi Sodhana also helps keep the mind cool and is one of the best pranayamas for soothing the nerves. The pranayama most known for its cooling effects is Sitali. These are advanced pranayamas so be sure to learn them from a qualified teacher. B.K.S. Iyengar’s Light on Pranayama is a great resource for detailed descriptions of each pranayama, but there is no substitute for the expert guidance of a teacher. (An alt resource is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.)
Ujjayi 2 is a supine pranayama where you prolong the exhalation.
Violma 2 is a supine pranayama where you divide the exhalation into sections with a slight pause after each exhalation.
Ujjayi 6 is a seated pranayama where you prolong the exhalation.
Viloma 4 pranayama where you divide the exhalation into sections with a slight pause after each exhalation.
Anuloma is a seated digital pranayama where one nostril is fully closed and the other partially closed on the exhalation.
Nadi Shodana is seated digital pranayama where you alternate closing nostrils with the inhalation and exhalation.
Sitali is a seated pranayama where you draw in breathe through your folded tongue.
Want to learn more about pranayama? Come to classes with Anne Schultz at the Castle, these tips are compiled from her original blog:Some Like It Hot, Some Do Not
Finally for a justification of hot yoga in hot weather read: Think Hot Yoga’s only for Cold Weather? Think Again! San Rafael Bikram Yoga, Copyright 2013