Tuesday, July 19, 2011

the Heat!

Generally, I like the heat.  The hotter the better.  And I'm a fan of humidity.  I don't like my skin feeling all dry and itchy. 

But here in Philadelphia, we are coming into our 5th heat wave of the season.  And it hasn't quite been cooling off in between.  It's just been less heat wavish.  Walking around outside, it feels like you're moving in slow motion, through a cup of hot soup. 

This has been great for the practice.  The body has been feeling like a super supple wet noodle.  By the time I get to parsarita padotanasana B, streams of sweat are pouring down my face onto my mat.   But binding the feet in supta vajrasana is a bit tricky and jumping onto slip and slide arms into bakasana B nearly impossible.  Nonetheless, at the end of practice, I feel completely wrung out.

Rather than trying to beat the heat, I'm trying to roll with it.  Here are some things that I'm doing these days:

1.  Taking a clean towel to yoga.  The towel helps the binds, can be used to wipe up the errant pools of sweat that the teacher will otherwise slip on and brain himself, and of course are necessary for the obligatory post-practice shower.

2.  Taking a yoga rug.  I love my yoga rug.  I may be too attached to it.  It's hard for me to imagine practicing past standing postures without it.  In the summer, it keeps my mat from becoming a slip and slide.  Year round, it makes jump-throughs easier.  But you must take your yoga rug home and air it out EVERY DAY in the summer.  No one likes to practice next to a moldy smelling mat.  Putting it in the sun is the best solution, but mine airs out in the cubicle until I get home and put it in the sun for a few hours before sunset.

3.  Smoothies.  They are easy to digest which makes the body work less hard thus keeping it cooler.  I can't get enough of them these days. 

4.  Lassis.  Same as smoothies with less chunks.  Here's my easy lassi recipe, no blender necessary, just a travel bottle with a lid:

3:1 ratio of water to yoghurt.  I get the whole fat stuff.  Life is too short.  Besides, you're already diluting it by three parts water.

A teaspoon or more of honey depending on your taste for the sweets

A teaspoon of freshly grated ginger.  Don't skimp on peeling it with this one or you'll end up with nasty fibers in your lassi.

A dash of Cardamom

Put everything into your bottle and shake vigorously.  I make mine before bed, place in the freezer and take out when I go to practice.  By the time I'm finished, it's thawed out.

4.  Eat less.  Substitute lassis and smoothies for part of or entire meals. 

5.  Eliminate or reduce garlic and onions.  Your teacher will thank you.  Besides, these are medicine.  If you're not sick, you don't need so much.

6.  Stay hydrated.  Add lemon to your water to help absorb it and add electrolytes.  In the morning I cheat and add Emergen-C.  It keeps the heat headaches away.

7.  Coconut oil.  Put it on your feet if they are dry and cracked.  Put it in your hair if it is "voluminous" and frizzy like mine. 

8.  Get outside.  Relax.  Watch the fireflies.  Soak up the sun.  Smile.  Laugh. Walk barefoot in the grass.  Find an outdoor yoga class. 

Some more excellent heat-beating techniques can be found on my teacher's website www.ayurvedaboston.com.

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