I get a lot of stunned faces when students walk into class and realize I don’t switch on the AC. In this unbearable heat, yes. Here are a few of the reasons why:
Summer is a natural warmer. Being warm for your practice is crucial to the benefits you’ll reap. This is why any yoga practice will begin with a warm up, usually in the form of sun salutations, and end with a cool down, usually in the form of a few seated asanas then everybody’s favorite: Savasana, corpse pose. This heat will naturally expedite and elongate the warm up process so why not make use of it?
It’s better for your breath. For Pranayama practice, Ujjayi breath in Ashtanga, or any kind of breathing in yoga, natural, fresh air is much better for you. ACs can block your nostrils if you have sinus issues and it can generally interfere with the quality of your breathing.
The warmer you are, the flexible you can potentially be. As you warm your body up during practice for hip openers, chest openers or other flexibility work, this extra heat can be used to your advantage. With an AC on, you might be negating your warm up process. Without it, you’ll use the natural heat to try and safely push your boundaries to do more.
Potentially less injuries. With our bodies warmer, there should be less risk of injury in challenging or new poses. We always want to make sure our bodies are warm enough before a backbend or a challenging pose to avoid injury and this natural heat can help with that too. You still need to be careful practicing challenging poses and make sure your don't use the extra warmth and push yourself too much.
Sweat is your natural AC. In general, we’ll sweat during most yoga practices. In summer, we’ll sweat even more. It’s a natural process of your body cooling you down. Along with breath control, it’s all you need to survive practice in this heat.
Having said all of the above, being comfortable is also a very important part of practice. There’s no rule against using the AC and if you feel the need to use it, you should. Just make sure you’re not too cold to avoid injuries and don’t let heat stop you from getting on your mat.
Happy practicing :)