Inspiration for your yoga practice: 6 gentle exercises for hot days
A cooperation with Johanna Hüttmann
On hot summer days, you might not feel the urge to move too much. If you still want to move your body at least a little and without overtaxing your circulation, a restorative yoga sequence is the right choice. In collaboration with yoga teacher and coach Johanna Hüttmann, we have put together a series of exercises for you that will keep you cool on warm days.
You don't have to practise yoga for a whole hour. Ten to twenty minutes a day is enough to feel a positive effect. Especially in the summer, and particularly before going to bed, it feels good to get into a relaxing sequence of exercises to find your balance; to get out of your head and into your body by breathing. To do so, the six exercises below are perfect.
Accompany your practice with an intention: do you want to let go, slow down or get into the flow? Connect with the element of water by breathing and moving and start to immerse yourself in the feeling of clarity, coolness and flow. Take your time: move slowly and with great mindfulness to stay cool and relaxed. Hold each pose for ten breaths.
01 Arrive on your mat: The Victorious Breath (Ujjayi)
Ujjayi will teach you to consciously control your breath and calm your thoughts.
Sit on your mat in tailor, lotus or heel position - whichever feels most relaxed for you.
Start with three-stage breathing: First, direct your breath into your abdomen, then into your chest and finally under your collarbones. You can focus on each area separately at first and then connect all three to create a deep, undulating breath.
Now move on to Ujjayi: Inhale through your nose, long and deep, into the belly, then exhale completely while closing your glottis, the upper part of your larynx. This will make your breath sound a little like the waves of the ocean. Feel the cooling flow of your breath in your nose, observe it flowing through your nose, into your chest and your belly.
Repeat ten times.
02 Mobilise your spine: Cat and Cow
Cat and Cow help to activate your spine after meditation. Let the movements flow with your breathing.
Start on your hands and knees, placing your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Your spine is a straight line, look down on your mat.
Inhale and while exhaling, tilt your pelvis and curve your back, like a cat humping.
Inhale again, while raising your head and stretching your back into a backbend. Pull your shoulder blades back and lower the abdomen towards the floor.
Repeat ten times while staying fully relaxed.
03 Help your body detoxify: Twists
Twists help to detoxify your body and stimulate digestion by giving your internal organs a massage.
Sit on your mat with your legs stretched out. Pull your right knee close and place your foot on the left side. Stay here for a gentle variation of the position. Inhale, stretch your right arm upwards or place the right hand behind the buttocks. While exhaling, turn your head towards your right leg.
For a full twist, cross the right foot over your left thigh as shown in the photo. Gently turn your head to the right and while exhaling, straighten your spine and grow tall.
Remain in this position for ten breaths. Then, exhaling, come back to the centre and change sides.
04 Balance yourself: Tree Pose
The Tree Pose helps you gather your spirit, ground yourself and find your balance in the flow of life.
Stand with your feet together and your pelvis slightly tilted forward. Straighten your spine and face your kneecaps over your toes.
Shift your weight to your right leg. When you feel stable, lift your left leg, bend your left knee and place your left sole on your right thigh or calf. If this feels too unstable, you can place your left heel on your right ankle with your left foot’s toes on the mat instead.
Bring your palms together in front of your chest (Anjali Mudra). Alternatively, you can raise your arms and bring your palms or your fingertips together over your head.
Keep your shoulders drawn down.
Hold the position for ten breaths.
Gently put your left foot down again and change sides.
05 Let go: Cobbler's Pose (Baddha Konasana)
Baddha Konasana will open your hips and help to relax them. Your breathing will help you let go.
Sit on your mat with your legs stretched out.
Draw your feet one by one as close to you as possible and bring the soles of your feet together. Let your knees fall on either side.
Grab your toes or ankles with both hands.
Keep your pelvis and your back straight, your shoulder blades drawing down, your chest wide open.
Hold the position for ten breaths and enjoy.
06 Cool Down: Child's Pose (Balasana)
The child's pose (Balasana), like all forward bends, has a calming effect and helps you to reset your focus.
Kneel on your mat. Exhale, bend your upper body forward and place your forehead on the mat, or make a pillow with your hands to place your forehead on.
You can rest your arms along either side of your body or stretch them out in front of you for a more intense stretch - whatever feels best for you.
Concentrate on your breath and enjoy.
Stay here for ten breaths.
Johanna is a yoga teacher and coach for women who want to feel comfortable in their own bodies again. Her passion is to bring women back to their power by yoga, movement, mindfulness and meditation – to be able to feel themselves again with all their senses. On her Instagram channel, Johanna regularly posts about yoga, self-reflection, self-love and mindset.