Words: Keri Setaro Images: Jill Futter
In this blog series, we ask a few teachers we know for their favorite cooling poses. In this installation, teacher Keri Setaro takes us through a slow, sweet sequence to cool us down, down, down, all the way to the ground.
For me (and maybe for you, too), the summer is a head-spinning time of year. It excites me and makes me feel like a carefree, spirited kid. At this time of year, grounding becomes important, really connecting to the root chakra to cool that sense of high energy.
After a few, slow Surya Namaskar A sequences (see this handy quick guide) to bring some awareness into the body and lubricate the joints, come to Utkata Konasana, Goddess Pose. Spread your feet wide, with the toes wider than the heels. Take an eagle wrap of the arms, with the right arm under the left. Really feel your feet ground down into the earth and spread your toes and the flesh of the feet. Root down through your tailbone and feel the weight drop down to the earth as you open your hips. You can even sway slightly from side to side to feel how the weight can shift while still staying strongly rooted.
After a few deep breaths keep the left foot where it is, turned out, and turn your right foot forward. Straighten both legs and let the left hip draw back and draw your right arm as far forward over your right foot as possible and come into Trikonasana, Triangle Pose. Root strongly through your feet and expand front to back, up and down and front top back. Soften the joints and open your heart, slow down your breath and feel the power and the stillness of the pose.
Come up and turn the right foot out again and come into Utkata Konasana, Goddess Pose, again. Root down and take an eagle arm wrap of the arms with the left arm on the bottom this time.
Take a few breaths here and then straighten your legs and turn the left foot forward and take Trikonasana, Triangle Pose on the left side.
Come out of Triangle Pose slowly and make your way to the floor for Marichyasana A, Marichi's Pose. Sit up tall with your legs extended out in front of you. Draw your right foot in, bending the knee and placing the sole of the foot on the ground close to your sits bones but slightly away from the left inner thigh. Extend as long as you can forward with your right arm, turn the palm out and wrap your arm around your right thigh placing your right hand behind you back, palm out. Take your left arm and reach it as far forward as you can and turn the palm out and wrap it around your back taking hold of the right wrist, binding. Stand firmly in your right sole of your foot and flat back extend your torso forward then bow your head down. This turning deeply inward takes the energy down to a very deep internal place and starts to calm and cool the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Take a few breaths here then slowly come out of the pose. Take a moment to feel the effects of the pose and notice the difference between the side you have done and the side you have yet to do.
Repeat Marichyasana A on the left side.
Finally we come to the most cooling of all poses: Savasana. Lay down on your back. Allow your arms and legs to be away from your body and let the palms be up and the toes flop out to the sides. Let everything fall away. Completely release and trust that the floor will carry you. Float away here--as if the ocean has cooled and soothed you into bliss, away from the last dog days of summer.
See more of our Cooling Summer Poses series here, with teacher Lisa Bermudez's hip sequence.
Keri Setaro is a vinyasa yoga teacher in Brooklyn. Visit her Facebook page to find out more.