It is still sticky, humid and hot in February here in Bali, so it is often tempting to skip your regular yoga practice in favor of lounging in front of a fan with an icy drink. So try dong a few cooling stretches instead of skipping your routine altogether. We give you a few poses and each one of them is designed to be grounding and soothing, releasing tension and in- creasing the calming, cooling flow of oxygen in the body without building up excess heat. For extra cooling benefits, practice early in the morning.
Waterfall Pigeon (A)
What it does: Releases tension in the hips and brings movement into the spine and breath into the body, which calms the nervous system. Resting the forehead also quiets and focuses the mind. How to do it: Start in pigeon pose with right knee forward, left leg back. Place fingertips beside your hips and inhale into a mild backbend.
Waterfall Pigeon (B)
Exhale and lean forward, leading with your heart and head toward the floor. Repeat, moving like a wave through your spine: Roll up on the inhale, and reverse as you release on the exhale. Do this 5 to 10 times, then rest your head on your thumbs or the backs of your hands).
Breathing Goddess (A)
What it does: Stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which runs the “rest and digest” functions of the body, bringing you into balance. How to do it: Lie on your back in goddess pose — soles of feet together and knees bent, falling away from each other to form a diamond shape.
Breathing Goddess (B)
Place one hand on your chest and one on your belly and inhale, feeling the belly and ribs expand, let gravity take the breath out. Lie still for at least one minute. Feel your breath become smooth and slow.
Moon Stretch (A)
What it does: Opens the rib cage, letting you breathe more effectively and bringing more calming oxygen into the body. How to do it: Come into a low lunge with right leg forward and left knee on the floor. Place a block just to the left of your mat, parallel to your right foot. Rest both forearms on the block with spine gently curved to make a crescent moon shape (A).
Moon Stretch (B)
Walk the right fingertips forward as far as you can and hold for 5 to 10 breaths on each side.■