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Take a Chill

Cooling pranayama techniques are important as the weather warms up because they help to regulate the body's temperature, calm the mind, and soothe the nervous system.

As the temperature rises, the body can become overheated and agitated, leading to feelings of restlessness, irritability, and exhaustion. Cooling pranayama techniques, such as Sheetali and Sheetkari, involve breathing in cool air through the mouth or teeth, which can help to reduce body heat and create a sense of relaxation and calmness.

In addition to their cooling effects, these pranayama techniques also help to slow down the breath and promote deeper, more rhythmic breathing. This can be particularly helpful during periods of high heat or humidity when shallow, rapid breathing can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and discomfort.

Sheetali (Cooling Breath) /Sitkari (Sipping Breath) Pranayama

  1. Sitting with a lengthened spine, close your eyes. You might want to rest your hands on your lap, palms facing up, which keeps them cool during practice.

  2. To practice Sheetali, inhale through a curled tongue and exhale through the nose. During each exhalation, lightly touch the tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth, inviting the cool tip of the tongue to send coolness toward the upper palate. Because the ability to curl your tongue is genetic, an alternative is to purse your lips on the inhale, as if you were drinking through a straw. Swallow now and then if the throat feels dry. Continue this cycle until you feel refreshed.

  3. Pause and feel the effects of the practice, noticing any areas of the body that feel refreshed, ventilated, renewed, or cooled.

  4. Finish with several minutes of silent meditation to bask in the sensations of spaciousness.

Sama Vritti (Equal Breaths)

  1. This four-part breathing technique can not only be used to cool the body but calm and balance the mind to stress. The conscious use of the diaphragm increases the flow of air into the lung and brings in more oxygen.

  2. With the mouth closed, inhale and exhale through the nose. Use a diaphragmatic breath with little or no movement in the chest.

  3. Begin to slow and deepen your breath as much as comfortable. Most importantly, breathe in and out of the body at your own pace. If you begin to struggle, then shorten the length and number of counts.

  4. Start your breath cycle • Inhale for a count of 4. • Suspend the breath (lungs full) for a count of 4. • Exhale for a count of 4. • Suspend the breath (lungs empty) for a count of 4.

  5. The count should always match the breath. Do not match the breath to the count. Holding the breath, rather than just suspending the natural pause, can cause a stress response in the body.

  6. Sama Vritti can also help slow down the heart rate, increase oxygen to the brain, and reduce anxiety. People who practice this yoga breathing technique regularly will find they are more focused and are able to experience deep, restful states of relaxation.

Overall, incorporating cooling pranayama techniques into your yoga practice as the weather warms up can help you stay cool, calm, and centered on and off the mat.

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