Hot Yoga Techniques
Yoga to Raise Inner Body Heat
With most of the US in a deep freeze and cold weather gripping us here in the Northeast as well, I thought we ought to do some hot yoga exercises to get warm in December. As the regular readers know, every month I present some yoga exercises that we do together to enhance our practice, and for this time of year, I can think of nothing better to do that yoga techniques that raise the body heat within.
Last month, we worked on Anti-aging Yoga, and previously all the exercises we have done are listed in the following article: September Yoga Exercises for Nerves of Steel. So for fighting the cold and raising your core temperature, lets get ready to do some hot yoga exercises this month.
The following techniques are all excellent for generating heat in the body and are great for combating the cold, dull and slow nature of winter. They will get your energy up, stoke your inner fire and get you heated up in no time. Of course, please do not overdo these exercises, we don’t want you to spontaneously combust .
Hot Yoga Technique 1: Surya Bedhi Pranayama
The following yoga breathing exercise is called Surya Bedhi Pranayama, meaning Sun Breathing. So that should make it pretty clear that it is all about generating heat in the body.
It’s design is based on the Kundalini Yoga Chakra Model, and specifically it activates the Sun channel or Pingala, by isolating the breath exclusively to the Right Nostril. This channel is responsible for the hot, male, active aspects of you being and when it is predominating, these attributes are enhanced.
For full details of this technique, please read Yoga Breathing Technique to Treat Depression. Here are the step-by-step instructions to practice this exercise.
- To practice this yoga breathing exercise, sit up in a comfortable position. Preferably in a variation of sukh asana (cross legged). You may also sit on a chair if you like, with your back straight.
- Elongate your spine upwards, lengthen your neck and subtly bring your chin back and in like a soldier at attention. This will align the spine with the back of your head.
- Fold your index finger and middle finger into the palm of your right hand so just the thumb, ring finger and pinkie are extended. Hold your knee with your left hand.
- Close your eyes if you like.
- Bring your attention to your breathing and take 5 deep, slow breaths though the nose. This will oxygenate your blood and relax you. For the rest of the exercise the attention should remain on your breath.
- Now gently close the left nostril with your right ring finger and pinkie and breathe long, slow and deep through the RIGHT nostril only.
- You should inhale as well as exhale through the right nostril only, keeping the left nostril closed with your ring finger and pinkie.
- Do a round of 10 repetitions and then inhale completely, hold your breath in for 1-5 seconds and then exhale completely. Over time you can build up to 5-15 minutes of this pranayama. Be sure though to start slowly and work your way up.
Hot Yoga Technique #2: Sodarshan Chakra Kriya
The second technique actually uses the Left Nostril for inhaling, but due to the breath retention and the pumping of the stomach, this exercise generates a great deal of internal heat. In fact, I would caution you to not overdo this exercise, simply because heat related issues can occur due to it. But for getting warm and strong, there is no other technique as powerful as Sodarshan Chakra Kriya. This technique will make you sweat!!
This exercise is a little involved, so I would suggest you read the full article regarding it for all the details. If you have never done this exercise before, then I suggest you start with the beginner’s version first and then move forward from there.
A quick summary of this technique is:
Inhale through Left Nostril –> Hold Breath In –> Mentally Say Wa Hay Guru –> Pump your stomach once each for Wa, Hay and Guru –> Do 16 repetitions of Wa Hay Guru, so 48 pumps per cycle –> Exhale Right Nostril –> Repeat.
Here is the article with all the details: 3 Most Powerful Yoga Pranayamas – Part 1.
Hot Yoga for December Summary:
As with all our monthly exercises, please feel free to share your experiences with us in the comments section below. Here is to staying warm and healthy this winter.