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Cooling Yoga Poses – How To Reduce Body Heat Through Yoga

Written by: Scott Robinson, Senior Level Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Scott Robinson

As the summer sun heats up more and more each day, the quest to find relief from excessive body heat can become paramount. Whether in extreme weather conditions or prone to overheating, the heat can take a significant toll on our well-being. Fortunately, ancient yoga practices may provide some relief by cooling yoga poses.

Woman doing yoga pose at the beach

Studies have shown that over 300 million people around the world practise yoga. This article will delve into the world of cool-down yoga poses and their potential to combat body heat. Wondering how to reduce body heat? We will explore the science behind using yoga to beat the heat, the benefits of different yoga poses, and other general tips to prevent overheating.

Understanding body heat and its effects

Thermoregulation refers to the body’s ability to maintain a stable internal temperature, regardless of external conditions. This means that when exposed to excessively high temperatures, such as changing weather conditions or engaging in physical activities, the body should naturally adjust its internal temperature. However, excess body heat could lead to various adverse health issues if not regulated.

The body uses thermoregulation mechanisms such as convention, radiation, conduction, and evaporation to cool down the body.

  • Convection: As body temperature rises, the blood vessels near the skin’s surface dilate, enabling warmer blood to flow closer to the skin. As the warmer blood comes into closer contact with objectively cooler air, the heat is transferred from the body to the environment around you through convection.

  • Radiation: As the body’s temperature increases, it emits infrared radiation into the environment around it. When this radiation reaches the surrounding environment, it releases heat from the body to the generally cooler surroundings. This helps cool the body and maintain a more balanced internal temperature.

  • Conduction: When the body comes into contact with a cooler surface, such as touching a cold object or sitting on the floor, heat is transferred from the body to the cooler surface. Yoga poses that involve direct contact with the ground, or other cool surfaces can help effectively facilitate this heat exchange through conduction.

  • Evaporation: This is a vital bodily cooling mechanism in which the body loses heat through liquids such as sweat. As the body’s temperature increases, it produces sweat released from the skin’s surface. As the sweat evaporates, it eliminates heat from the body.

The hypothalamus also plays a key role in regulating body temperature. It is a small area at the base of the brain that continuously monitors internal body temperature to maintain an optimal temperature range.

When the hypothalamus senses that the body’s temperature is rising above its normal range, it triggers a cooling response to prevent overheating. To cool down the body, the hypothalamus will then send nerve signals to the sweat glands to generate a cooling effect.

The science behind cooling yoga poses

Cool-down yoga poses work on a scientific principle based on the body’s ability to respond to heat and stress overall. When the body is exposed to higher temperatures than normal, the fight-or-flight response (the sympathetic nervous system) gets activated.

This allows the heart rate to increase, the blood vessels to restrict, and the sweat glands to begin releasing sweat. Cooling yoga poses alternatively activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This can help slow down heart rate, dilate blood vessels, and allow the body to move into a state of relaxation. This shift can counteract the body’s response to stress, allowing it to dissipate heat more effectively.

Using yoga to beat the heat can also facilitate more efficient circulation of oxygen and blood throughout the body, enabling better heat transfer.

Top cooling yoga poses to beat the heat

1. Balasana (child's pose)

Balasana (also known as Child’s Pose) is a highly relaxing yoga pose that promotes a deep sense of calm and can effectively cool down the body. To practice this pose, kneel on the floor and gently fold the body forward with the arms extended or resting next to the body.

By bowing one’s head and chest closer towards the ground, the body’s parasympathetic nervous system becomes activated, hence inducing a state of relaxation. This activation then triggers a decrease in stress hormones, promoting decreased blood pressure and heart rate. Slow and intentional breaths in this position can also help circulate fresh oxygen and stimulate a cooling sensation.

Improved blood flow facilitates better flow of oxygen to the body’s cells, hence promoting the elimination of waste and excess heat from the body.

Man practicing yoga at balcony

2. Janu Sirsasana (head-of-the-knee pose)

Janu Sirasana (also known as the Head-Of-The-Knee pose) is a seated bend known for stimulating a cooling sensation across the body. This pose involves stretching one leg straight forward while bending the other knee and bringing the sole of the foot to the inner thigh.

As you bend forward, the body will slowly begin to relax and release tension, hence gently allowing the body to cool down. This stimulates more effective circulation of blood through the organs, which aids in better digestion and regulation of metabolism.

This pose can also allow you to take more full breaths, enhancing oxygen flow throughout the body. This is one of the most effective ways to use yoga to beat the heat. The increased stretching in this pose can also specifically target the hamstrings and sciatic nerve, releasing muscle tension and improving circulation, leading to a calming and cooling effect throughout the body.

Man sitting on on yoga mat stretch his foot

3. Shavasana (corpse pose)

Shavasana (also known as Corpse pose) is a yoga pose that promotes cooling and overall relaxation, hence making it an ideal way to reduce body heat. By lying down flat on the back with your arms and legs slightly apart, the body’s overall surface area is maximized, allowing heat to dissipate efficiently.

This pose encourages the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, which enables the body to return to a more balanced and relaxed state. This also enables the body to decrease its metabolic rate, leading to a cooler effect.

Man lying on green grass

Other tips to beat the heat with yoga

1. Choosing the right time and place

You must choose the right time and location when practicing yoga in hot weather. Early mornings or late evenings are usually cooler and can help make these poses more effective. Practicing yoga in the shade and in well-ventilated areas can help provide more solace from the heat. Avoiding these poses in direct sunlight can help avoid excessive overheating and dehydration.

2. Dressing for the occasion

Selecting the right attire can significantly impact how effective they are at reducing body heat. You should choose breathable, lightweight materials that allow sweat to easily evaporate to keep your body temperature lower. Lighter-colored clothing can also help reflect sunlight, reducing the heat your body absorbs during your session.

3. Create a ventilated yoga space

If you plan on practicing these poses indoors, you must ensure that there is proper ventilation by opening windows or using fans. This can help the body dissipate heat more easily and make your experience more enjoyable.

Final takeaway

Wondering how to reduce body heat this summer? These cooling yoga poses can be the key to activating the body’s thermoregulatory mechanisms and reducing discomfort from excessive body heat.

Through poses like Balasana, Janu Sirasana, and Shitali Pranayama, you can unlock the power of using yoga to beat the heat. Aligning your practice sessions with appropriate times, locations, and clothing options can also ensure you stay as comfortable as possible.

Allow this ancient tradition to be your secret weapon for easily navigating even the hottest days.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin, and visit my website for more information. To receive a complimentary copy of my e-guide, ‘5 Things You Need to Start Your Yoga Practice’, subscribe here.

Read more from Scott!

Scott Robinson Brainz Magazine

Scott Robinson, Senior Level Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Scott Robinson is a Finance Professional and Yoga Teacher. He is also the founder of Yogibanker ‒ a specialised yoga & wellbeing service for the financial services industry. He helped found 'dbYoga' at Deutsche Bank, one of the world's leading financial services companies as well as leading regular mindfulness sessions under the brand of 'Mindfulness Mondays'. Over the years, Scott has helped hundreds of finance professionals become stronger, more flexible and less stressed through yoga & mindfulness. Scott's passion is to bring yoga & wellbeing to the financial services industry ‒ one that is kinder, more sustainable with wellbeing at its core.




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