Summer… It’s hot. It’s freaky, devilishly hot! It’s so hot and sunny that you almost see flames wrapping you up and a devil mocking at you and your sweaty sufferings. The only thing your half-boiled brain could think about is how lovely it must be at Santa’s snowy village right now. No, I am not somewhere in Northern Africa, I am back in my native Bulgaria for a couple of months.
If you have visited the southern parts of my country you understand the desert heat I am talking about. It’s as hot as hell, day and night (I guess, I would have enjoyed cooler nighttime in Sahara), I am sweltering…
And I still have to work out a little bit, don’t I? My exhausted body, however, refuses to obey. It is begging me for a long long rest in bed (or maybe an ice bath) as if saying, “How am I supposed to make a move under such merciless conditions?!”
I haven’t done any of Christine Khuri’s workouts for over a week, except for the 15-minute ones. At best, my everyday efforts look like some squat series, a little bit of plank, maybe some lunges and some burpees and this is it. Pathetic! My hamstrings are getting stiff, the unpleasant pain in my waist is back, and even 10 minutes of exercising give me sore muscles the next day. I know, some soreness is fine but so far, I’ve noticed that the more often I work out the less pain I feel afterwards.
But still, I WANT to make a move. Walking for an hour or two a day together with my son doesn’t count. I must keep going, even though the heat seems determined to take all my power away (air conditioning doesn’t make a big difference when you feel like jelly anyway).
So… Instead of waiting for the heat to be over (no way to wait that long!), I’ve come up with a more reasonable solution – switching to a lighter mode. In my case, this would sound like Yoga, Pilates and some high-intensity workouts in between.
I wouldn’t dare to advise you (I’m not a pro, as you know) but I’ll tell you why I think this fitness plan makes sense.
Yoga is the answer anytime I feel too tired for a tough workout. I know, power comes the moment you start moving. But some days, I just need to take it slow. On the other hand, Pilates gently reminds my body to keep being active. I still work my muscles but no exhausting cardio blasts. Well, sometimes, I completely forget about the heat outside and torture myself the best I can. Does that make sense to you, too? 🙂
Now, let’s talk about Yoga. I will share with you some of the yoga postures I usually include in my practice (just a few favourite asanas, not a whole practice):
- Sun salutation (Surya Namaskar) – the beautiful sequence of poses that will energise your whole body while working all major muscle groups. It may warm you up a little bit but not to the point of unpleasant sweating. Your body has just been awakened.
- Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II) – one of my favourite. It strengthens the legs and ankles, relieves you from backaches and massages your abdominal organs. Warrior II is a powerful asana with plenty of benefits; I never leave it out.
- Reverse warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana) – it’s the natural continuation of Warrior II pose. Keep strengthening the legs and stretch the sides of your torso. Reverse warrior is my best helpmate to reduce the pain (quite acute sometimes) in my lower back.
- Boat pose (Paripurna Navasana) – it works the core and improves your digestion. It’s not easy to stay in this posture for long, but I prefer it to crunches (once, I told you crunches could be boring 🙂 ) because it balances both the body and the mind.
- Downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) – this posture targets so many parts of the body and has so many benefits, but what I most love about it is that it stretches the hamstrings, calves, arms, shoulders and upper back. It also stimulates your digestive system. Three legged downward dog is a variation that will help you open the hips and work the sides (and core) – find out more here.
- Lotus (Padmasana) – it calms the mind so well. In addition, it stretches the knees and ankles, stimulates the pelvis and the upper body, and improves your hip flexibility. However, please, prepare your hips and knees gradually before doing Lotus. Three years back, full Lotus was impossible for me. Now, it’s one of my most favourite asanas. Yet, be extremely gentle to your body. I’ve learnt that lesson after a knee injury that lasted a few months. 🙂
- Side plank (Vasisthasana) – feel balanced and strong in this wonderful posture. It strengthens the arms, abs, and legs. Your core will benefit even more if you raise your top leg, and this is the full version. Whichever variation you choose, side plank is a great strengthener.
- Two knee spinal twist (Supta Matsyendrasana) – it will put a soothing and relaxing end to your practice. It will help you release any tension in the neck and spine, tone your internal organs and stretches your hips and upper body (it’s perfect for stretching your shoulders). I love spinal twists as they are so effective against backaches, and nowadays, almost everyone I know suffers from them.
In the end, cross your legs in Easy pose (Sukhasana) and put your hands in front of your chest. Breathe and let go.