Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Using breath to keep your cool in the heat of summer
Finding ways to keep cool in extreme heat can be challenging, whether that heat is physical or emotional.
When we are overheated often we become agitated, adding heat to the mind as well as the body. We get frustrated, our breathing becomes shallow and rapid and our level of discomfort increases. Sitali breathing, or cooling breath, gives us something to focus our attention on and helps to relieve heat not only from the body, but also the mind. This breath allows us to relax, cool off and find a more comfortable state.
Sitting comfortably, extend the tongue out of the mouth and beyond the bottom lip. Do not strain during any part of the breath.
Roll the sides of the tongue by curling the edges upwards like a taco shape.
With this taco-tongue extended, draw a long, slow inhale into the belly.
Pull the tongue back into the mouth and exhale through the nose, long and slow, drawing the belly back towards the spine to empty.
Extend the taco-tongue and take another slow, complete inhalation. No straining.
Exhale again through the nose, drawing the tongue back into the mouth.
The air drawn in should feel cool while the air exiting through the nose is the heat leaving the body.
Continue this breathing, allowing the inhalations and exhalations to gradually lengthen as you relax and begin to cool down. You can begin with 3-4 minutes of this breathing several times a day, whenever you feel the heat is too much. Closing the eyes will assist with the calming and cooling process.
If you cannot roll up the sides of your tongue:
Make a small o shape with your mouth.
Allow your tongue to float in the middle of your mouth, not touching teeth or gums.
Draw a long slow breath through the o-shaped lips and into the belly.
Press the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth and exhale through the nose.
See if you can exhale as long as or slightly longer than you can inhale. Without strain.
Caution should be used if pregnant or you have low blood pressure. Do not hold the breath if you are new to this breathing technique. Discontinue if dizziness occurs.
Allow yourself to relax completely during this breath and enjoy a few moments of stillness afterwards.
A useful breath for pacifying pitta conditions of the body and mind.
Sitali breathing can be done anywhere, however, safest to do while seated. Used in conditions of heat, including hot flashes in menopause, anger and agitation (which may also accompany menopause ;)
This information is not meant to diagnose or treat any conditions and is provided as information only.