It’s official, it’s freakishly hot this summer and now impossible to purchase a fan in Aotearoa New Zealand. Luckily yoga has some tools for keeping cool.

My go to favourite is legs up the wall. It’s just like the name sounds – you lie down on the floor near a wall and then swing your legs up the wall.Viparita karani with a chair

If you have tight hamstrings, you might be more comfortable resting the back of your calves on a chair, sofa or in even coffee table.

Check out this brief video of legs up the wall and options for stretching while you rest

But how does that keep you cool?

When you invert your body, it changes the flow of blood to the head and heart which can help stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The PNS is the opposite of the automatic fight or flight response in our bodies. The PNS tells the body to relax and slow down – it lowers your blood pressure and can lower your body temperature if you are overheated.

In fact, any pose that puts your head lower than your body can help trigger this response to calm your body – even lying on the floor. So if you’re overheating, try any of the stretches or movements we do at the start and end of class when lying down. Or try any of the poses in my restorative yoga at home booklet.

Yoga for keeping cool when it’s hot! Part 1