There a time and place for cooling yoga, even if you love hot yoga!
If you are feeling the heat, in or out of the studio, try some of the poses recommended in the following excerpt from Everyday Ayurveda. One of the key elements of Ayurvedic medicine is balancing hot and cold in the body. Whether or not you subscribe to the philosophy, doing these poses will definitely relax and calm you, bringing tranquility to your mind and body even in the heat of summer.
Spinal twists: Twisting poses help cool the blood and release excess Pitta from mid-abdomen, including the small intestine and liver. Twists performed seated or lying down are especially cooling. Try Ardha Matsyendrasana (Seated Spinal Twist) and Supta Matsyendrasana (Reclined Spinal Twist).
Gentle back bends: While some backbends can be heating, gentle backbends apply beneficial pressure to release tension and dissipate excess heat from the mid-abdomen. Bujangasana (Baby Cobra), Matsyasana (Fish) and Bandhasana (Bridge) are helpful to integrate into a Pitta-pacifying practice. Chakravakasana (Cat-Cow) is an ideal pairing of opposites: a gentle backbend and cooling forward bend.
Forward bends: Forward bends physically cool the body and calm the mind, and are essential to counteract the heating qualities of more intense back bends. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) and Padottanasana (Standing Open Leg Forward Bend) work well during the more active part of an asana practice, while Paschimottasana (Seated Forward Bend) and Balasana (Child’s Pose) are perfect ways to relax and cool the body toward the end of a practice.
Focus on the flow of your breath rather than intensity of your poses. Aim for a long, complete exhalation, which will help cool your body.
Consider your timing. Try to practice in the morning when the weather and your body are naturally cooler, and avoid practicing in direct sunlight.
End on a slow note. Even if the first part of your practice is more active, it is most important to end your with a period of slower, cooling poses—like the ones listed above—prior to Savasana.