Summer is here! The sun is shining and all is well in the world. But if those sunny days get a little too hot, try some of these cooling pranayama techniques. Try and find a cool comfortable spot to sit in.
With Pranayama, or breath control, we are controlling and channeling the life force of Prana within the body. By using different techniques of breath control, we can stimulate different energy fields within the body.
Sheetali – The Cooling Breath
This technique not only cools down the body, but it cools down the mind as well. It has a calming effect on the blood pressure as well as the nervous system. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system by triggering a Rest and Digest reaction.
To start, sit comfortably and close your eyes. Stick out your tongue as far as possible without straining it, and roll it so that the sides of the tongue are facing upwards. Inhale for four counts through the rolled tongue, like sipping air with a straw. Then close your mouth and exhale for six counts through your nostrils. This is one round of the cooling breath.
As you inhale, the air is cooled down by the moist tongue, and you’ll feel the air being colder when entering your body. Try 10 rounds to get you started.
Sitkari – Teeth Hissing
If you find it difficult to roll your tongue like this, an alternative for the Sheetali is called Sitkari Pranayama, or teeth hissing.
To start, bring the upper and lower front teeth together, and pull your cheeks into a smile. Fold the tongue and press the tip of the folded tongue onto the back of your teeth. When you inhale through your teeth, you will make a hissing sound, while the cool air is entering your body. Exhale through your nostrils and keep your mouth closed. Repeat for 10 rounds.