Traveling is exhilarating but can also be stressful. Especially in a hot climate like Thailand, that you may not be used to, the combination of travel stress and high temperatures can lead you feeling uncomfortable and overwhelmed. For these times when we want to cool our mind and our body, we turn to these five yoga poses to cool down with.
Nadhi Shodhana Pranayama (alternate nostril breathing)
Any controlled breathing will help you to calm and cool yourself down, but Nadhi Shodhana goes the extra mile by clearing the body’s subtle energy channels so prone flows more easily and harmonizing the two hemispheres of the brain. It also helps lower the heart rate and reduce anxiety.
Sit in a comfortable position and with your right hand, gently press your thumbing the side of your right nostril to close it. Inhale through your left nostril then close it with your ring and little fingers. Release your thumb and slowly exhale through your right nostril. Repeat. Try doing the sequence (on both sides) three to five times before returning to normal breathing.
Viparita Karani (legs up the wall)
This pose has a wonderful way of being both relaxing and refreshing at the same time, especially if you’ve been sitting or standing in the same position for a long time. If you’re feeling uncomfortable, bothered or stressed this pose with help you feel more calmed and balance, here’s how.
Sit with your right side against a wall, exhale and gently swing your legs up to the wall as you lay back on the floor. Keep your legs straight up the wall and rest here for at least five minutes feeling the stress of your recent travel disappear. When you’re ready to come out of the pose, turn your body to the side bending your legs down and rest here for a couple breaths before sitting up.
Supta Badhakonasana (reclining bound angle pose)
From a bound angle pose (sitting with the bottom of your feet together and your knees spread apart in a “butterfy” position), lower your torso back until you’re lying flat on the ground with your knees still open. Use pillows or bolsters behind your neck or under your knees as needed for extra comfort and to allow you to sink fully into the pose. Initially, try staying in this pose for one minute then gradually increase the time you hold the pose up to five to ten minutes. This is an excellent hip opener that also helps alleviate stress and even minor depression.
To come out of Supta Badhakonasana, use your hands to pull your knees together, then roll onto one side and push yourself up from the floor with your head coming up last.
Supta Matsyendrasana (reclining leg twist)
Start by laying down and pulling your right knee into your chest. Use your left hand to slowly draw your knee over toward your left side with your right arm resting straight out to the side, creating a gentle twist. Drop your knee to the left side of your body as you look to the right and hold for five breaths. On an inhalation, return to center and stretch your right leg down to the floor. Repeat on the left side.
Twisting poses are an excellent way to wring out stress and tension from your body, while massaging your internal organs and stretching the spine.
Savasana (corpse pose)
Everyone’s favorite pose! Once you’ve gone through the other poses above lie flat on the ground with your legs and arms slightly spread out for total relaxation. Stay in the pose for about five minutes then slowly roll to one side and push yourself up to a sitting position with your head coming up last.