Two Yogic Strategies for Cooling Off

It’s hot! And when you are hot you can feel irritable, uncomfortable in your body, and less tolerant than usual.  Cancer survivors often experience hot flashes from hormonal medication or from chemically (or surgically) induced menopause.

Statistics show that anger and violence are more common when the city heats up.  And heaven knows our news and social media are full of hurt, anger, division, and, literally, wildfires.

Last week In Austin, Texas, an iconic sign advertising cowboy boots spontaneously combusted. Hot enough for ya’?

So, how to keep your cool?

Here are 2 practices from the yogic traditions for cooling the body and mind:

1.Sitali Pranayama (Cooling Breath Exercise)

Roll your tongue like a taco or straw.  Breathe in through the circle the tongue makes, as though breathing through a straw. Exhale through your nose.  Let the breath become slow and deep.

Being able to roll your tongue is genetic.  Either you can do it or not.  I, for one, cannot.  If you can’t, simply inhale over the tongue, exhale through the nose.

On Saturday, I taught a workshop for Honoring Your Own Sacredness. We practiced Sitali Pranayama and one woman shared a profound experience with the breath. Her mind became completely quiet, and she was aware of nothing but the breath.  For a few moments, she couldn’t identify where the breath began and where it ended.  Absorbed in the practice and in the present moment, she had a glimpse of the whole, through focus on the part.  She had a felt sense of  her own prana (life force energy), the breath of life.

You can experiment with Sitali Pranayma here:

2. Coconut Oil Self Massage – self massage is a simple, yet profound way to take the time to nourish your body through the skin.  Ayurvedic medicine (holistic healing system from India) teaches that coconut oil is cooling.  Set aside a few minutes for appreciating and gently massaging all the parts of your body with coconut oil, even the ones you try to ignore.  Breathe long and deep.  Listen to relaxing music.  And then take a lukewarm shower or bath.

Stabilize your own inner state with these deliberate practices and notice how it affects your day.

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