Over the weekend, I heard of a trend in spa treatments involving cold saunas. Apparently, you enter a space that is cooled to -110° below zero. You spend a mere 3 minutes in the room donning only your best bathing suit, a mask and a cap to protect your head and face. I couldn’t believe it, so I had to do a little research.
Due to the way the blood responds to the dry cold temperatures, the cold sauna concept is designed to treat inflammations of joints and inspire better circulatory health. But due to a short stay, only the outer layers and tissue structures of the body are cooled so the body maintains its core body temperature.
Battling icy cold temperatures, New Yorkers brave the outdoors as we walk around our city. As a result, I have a lot of chilly yoga students entering my classroom. Next time the cold gets to you and you come to your mat with a deep chill, try these two asana (posture) tips to inspire an increase in core body temperature and prepare you for your longer practice.
Plank pose (aka high push-up)
Come to the pose with your best alignment, incorporating a long spine, properly supported wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints, and reach strong legs behind you to flexed feet - Maintain the posture for 5 long and strong breath cycles – Lower to your belly in one piece to take a break and then repeat 2 more times - Not only will this build heat but it will also integrate your core with the rest of your body.
Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
Finding your diagonal with a long spine and legs sealed together, sit back into a seat, your knees, hips, and ankles flexing together to support the body on its angle – Reach your arms upward – Again, maintain the posture for 5 long and strong breath cycles – Fold over the legs to release and then repeat the posture 2 more times – Not only will you feel those inner fires ignite, but this leg strengthening posture will inspire grounding within you.
Remember, fire needs air to keep going! The breath is always our vehicle to keep the warmth flowing within. By infusing strong postures with focused breaths, your core body can get toasty on the inside and brave the external elements of the season.