Monday, June 21, 2010

The Daily Breath: Cool down

I love the summer--the sun, the heat and days at the beach. But when temperatures rise to over 100 degrees and my children stop cooperating, I get hot.

No one likes a cranky 32-year old. In yoga, breath exercises are called pranayama. Try this cooling pranayama called Shitali Pranayama. In sanskirt Shitali means: "cooling." This breath is like diving into a cool lake. It cools your breath, your body and your mind. Jump in and cool off with Shitali and watch all crankiness dissolve.

All you need in a few minutes, invite your kids--they will love it! Sit in a comfortable position-cross legged, in a chair, where ever. Take a few deep inhales and exhales through your nose.

Then roll your tongue, curling the sides in towards the center. Purse your lips in an "O" shape and stick the tip of your rolled tongue out slightly. Since everyone can't roll their tongue--you can also practice Shitali by just pursing your lips and keeping your tongue down towards the bottom of your mouth.

Inhale through your mouth, through the tube made with your rolled tongue (or pursed lips). Exhale through your nose. And don't worry if it seems you exhale through your nose and mouth--the pranayama will still work beautifully. Take long, full complete breaths; breathing deeply and inflating your lungs completely.

Practice a few rounds, like 5-10. Notice the cooling effect--isn't it wonderful?

Feel free to practice this cooling pranayama anytime you feel overheated--summer or winter!

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