yoga teacherBy Sangeetha Saran

Here’s a seasonal tip you might not have learned in yoga teacher training. The change of seasons is a good time to change or spice up your classroom routines. Summer is a wonderful time to practice cooling poses that allow us the opportunity to slow down, rest and reflect on our Yoga practice, both on an off the mat. For many of us, the summer is a time full of activities and vacations with family and friends. Cooling asanas allow the body and mind to rest for a period of time. Even a few minutes of restorative asanas during a “solar” Yoga practice will help to replenish and ground us, thereby enhancing our energy levels for many active summertime activities.

Twisting asanas and inversions are traditionally considered to be cooling Yoga postures for both the body and mind. Additionally, forward bending poses are very grounding and cooling. If inversions and forward bending poses are practiced in a supported manner, the asanas facilitate introspection even more deeply. For example, Forward Bending Straddle Pose practiced with a bolster allows the body and mind to truly settle and rest quietly in the calming nature of the pose. Legs Up the Wall Pose is a very soothing and replenishing inversion that is equally cooling to the body and mind.

Legs Up the Wall Pose – Viparita Karani

To practice Viparita Karani in a supportive fashion, it is optimal if you have an aromatherapy eye pillow and two blankets. If you do not have an aromatherapy eye pillow, a chilled, rolled wash cloth or piece of soft flannel will also do the trick. Legs Up the Wall Pose is best practiced towards the end of your Yoga practice. It will circulate fresh oxygen, nutrients and blood throughout your entire system, including the brain. It will also give your legs a much needed rest.

To practice Viparita Karani, place your Yoga mat perpendicular to a wall in your home or studio. You may wish to place a folded blanket up against the wall to increase the elevation of your hips in order to increase the effectiveness of the inversion. When you are ready, place your left hip sideways against the wall and gently swing your legs up along a wall.

Keep your feet together and your toes flexed while you are practicing this asana. Place the eye pillow over your eyes and a blanket over your torso for a sense of comfort. Stay in this position for five to ten minutes to receive the full benefits of the inversion. When you are ready, gently swing your legs back down and rest on your right side for a few breaths, then push yourself up to Easy Seat and pause for a minute or two to feel the soothing nature of Legs Up the Wall Pose.

© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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