I've been reading this fabulous book called the 3 Season Diet by Dr. Douillard. It's Ayurveda (the science of life) made easy for the western student. I would highly recommend it.
Ok, infomercial is over......
I never thought much about eating with the seasons, it was just something I did. I love cooking for my family and friends and even just random people. The food that I eat changes with the seasons simply because certain foods just taste better when they are in season. For many of us, changing the foods we eat based on season seems very natural but have you thought about changing your asana practice for the season?
As the temperatures go up I notice that my dog, Pumpkin, lays on the floor instead of the sofa. I guess even animals change their patterns with the season. I think animals are closer to enlightenment than we humans!
I've been thinking a lot about this as I prepare for my classes. I show up to teach a class and I'm looking at the students red faced and sweaty before class even starts. Maybe they rode their bike to class or walked and their breathing is a bit heavy. Do I want to offer a strong, dynamic practice? Probably not.
Remember: Like increases like and opposites cure.
Taking my cues from Pumpkin, maybe we spend a little more time in the opening poses doing seated postures. Forward folds with a little longer hold feels right. I like balancing the heating effects of sun salutation with the cooling effect of moon salutation. To include pranayama into the practice - shitali (cooling breath) while moving in and out of bow pose. Have you tried Ardha-Chandrasana (half-moon pose). Since it's a moon pose and the moon is considered more cooling - it's a great option for keeping with the theme of a cooling practice. If you've been to my class you know that I LOVE, LOVE props - May I recommend that you try Ardha-Chandrasana against a wall?
For those of us with a lot of fire/heat in our personality (pitta) we tend to push ourselves and others. We tend to be doers. Pitta people are always "doing" so letting go and relaxing is a challenge. I find that using props with pitta folks lets them let go a little easier. One of the lovely ladies in my class says that using a block under her low back in bridge pose helps her to BE in the pose and not have to "make it happen". In other words - helps her back off a little of the effort she normally applies in being in the pose.
What about your meditation practice? We know that mantras have different effects so what about changing the mantra that you use? Maybe using a mantra honoring the moon like:
Om Som Somaya Swaha.
I'll keep working on my lesson plans for cooling yoga practices. When you're done eating your tomato and basil salad come join me for a cooling yoga practice. I'd love your feed-back!
** I know I haven't explained what the poses are and how to practice them. You'll just have to come to class if want to see what the practice looks like.. :-) Besides, you need to feel the effects not just read about it!