The summer heat makes it hard to get motivated to put on your Splits59 gear and head to a yoga studio for class. Leaving your cozy, air conditioned home in the blazing heat to practice yoga in a studio filled with people may not sound so appealing. Trust me... I get it! There is a wide range of different types of yoga one can practice that have some cooling effects, such as Pranayama.
Pranayama is a Sanskrit word meaning, "extension of the pra, or breath"or, "extension of the life force". You may be thinking breathing...is that really yoga? "Yes, my dear friends, it really is ☺, which is actually the first type of yoga ever practiced. It is important to be able to connect with the breath before even beginning to practice yoga poses. There is a particular type of pranayama designed to cool the body down. It is called, sheetali, in Sanskrit, this means cooling.
Sheetali breathing calms the mind, reduces the stress or fight or flight response. It cools the body and mind while lowering the blood pressure. This pranayama is very effective in hyperacidity or ulcers. The purpose of the Sheetali breathing is to reduce the body temperature. In the ancient text of Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Swami Swatmaram says that a person becomes young and attractive by practicing this pranayama. Who doesn’t want to stay youthful looking and attractive?? LOL!
It also has a calming effect on the entire nervous system, induces muscular relaxation and is very effective in stress management. If stressed just 10 minutes of Sheetali breath is calming. Ready to cool down with some Sheetali?
Follow these simple steps..
- Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position in which the body can be relaxed and spine is erect. You may want to sit up on a pillow, yoga block or folded blanket, to make sure that you are sitting up nice and tall.
- Start inhaling through the mouth by rolling the tongue, to make sure the air passing in is cooled via tongue.
- For 4 seconds inhale through mouth while rolling the tongue and exhale for 6 seconds through both nostrils, and smile ☺.
This can be practiced for about 5 minutes. This is one of my favorite pranayama exercises. I like to do it while I’m waiting on the subway platform form for the train. Perhaps practice it while waiting for your teacher to start class. Or anytime you’re feeling agitated!
Namaste, Alodia Mumford 200 hr RYT Assistant Director of House of Jai Yoga
AUTHOR: Alodia Mumford
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