So as temperatures have been rising these past weeks, I find myself being a little irritable, and I love the summer. I personally do not love air conditioning and MOST of the time prefer to keep the windows open. There have been a couple of days, working remotely, that I snuck to the air-conditioned library or our third floor that does have a window unit! I was looking at this India photo remembering that if I am hot here, my friends in Rishikesh must be feeling even hotter!
As I felt my irritability rising with the heat, I tried to breath a little deeper, sip a little more ice water, and tried not to snap at my (banking) clients, co-workers, or family. When the going got rough and the library was closed, I took a ride in my air-conditioned car with an iced chai and made it into a treat! Another evening, at about 5 PM, instead of continuing to work or do some chore around the house, I packed my water, my kindle and went to the beach. Took a cooling swim, read and by chance ran into one of my favorite yogis and friend, Ann! Total silver lining in a cranky day!
Remember that these hot and sunny days will only be a fond memory in 4 short months when winter officially arrives.
So, perhaps, take that swim, get that ice cream or maybe just stick your head in your freezer, as you cool down so will your temper! 😊
Our Practice-Cooling Yoga Poses-Prasarita Padottanasana (Standing Wid-Legged Forward Fold)
In general, back bending asanas (poses) are warming and invigorating; forward folds are inherently cooling and calming to the nervous system. Forward bends feel like they provide easing of the mind and body – even if they do not feel “easy”. Let’s try some cooling forward folds to nourish ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally.
This pose strengthens legs and spine, tones abdominal organs and can help provide relief from back pain.
Here are some step-by-step tips for the pose.
1. Come to the long side of your mat in tadasana (mountain pose) - last week’s pose!
2. Step your feet apart, with your hands on your hips.
3. Lift tall through your whole torso and fold forward bending from the hip creases (not curving your lower back. When your back rounds, stop the folding, place your hands on the floor or blocks, shoulder width apart; begin to stretch your torso forward.
4. As you fold deeper, your head is toward the floor, your leg muscles firm and activate your inner thigh muscles. Spine is long from your bones to the crown of your head.
5. To come up, after several breaths, you can come to flat back hands on hips to spine or toe heel your feet a bit closer, place hands on thighs, and roll up.
For more on this pose visit this article by Eckhart Yoga:
For more on cooling yoga poses and practices check out this article from Chopra.com
Cooling Sitali Breath Work
This week in our practice we will also try the cooling breath practice of Sitali which means cooling in Sanskrit. Start by sitting in a comfortable position with a tall spine. Breathe in and out. Stick your tongue out and roll the outer edges together like a tube, some people cannot do this so just try your best, you will still get some of the effects. Inhale to a count of three through the tube in your tongue. Hold the breath for a moment. Then draw your tongue into your mouth, close your lips and exhale through your nose. About 3 counts. Perhaps try 10 rounds.
For more on this cooling breath practice and some other options for those who cannot curl their tongues, see article from yoga international.
Meditation on Keeping Our Cool – Stay Calm
As I sought an inspirational quote for keeping our cool as summer heat makes us more irritable, I stumbled on the following poem by Greenville Kleiser.
By Greenville Kleiser
When you feel like saying something
That you know you will regret,
Or keenly feel an insult
Not quite easy to forget,
That’s the time to curb resentment
And maintain a mental peace,
For when your mind is tranquil
All your ill thoughts simply cease. It’s easy to be angry
When defrauded or defied,
To be peeved and disappointed
If your wishes are denied;
But to win a worthwhile battle
Over selfishness and spite,
You must learn to keep strict silence
Though you know you’re in the right. So keep your mental balance
When confronted by a foe,
Be it enemy in ambush
Or some danger that you know.
If you are poised and tranquil
When all around is strife,
Be assured that you have mastered
The most vital thing in life.
I had never heard of him but he was a North American author born in 1868 and died in 1953. He wrote inspirational books and was an instructor in Public Speaking at the Yale divinity school.
Nurturing with Food – Stay Cool Don’t Cook – Sip Iced Chai
I decided it is too hot to cook this week. I have been consuming a ton of watermelon and suggest you do as well. If you want to try the "driving in the car drinking iced chai" cooling tip, try my chai recipe (iced version). Instead of heating the concentrate, just pour it and an equal amount of milk of your choice over a glass of ice. A bit of agave is a great sweetener if you have not already sweetened the batch. Shake and enjoy.
See you on the mat!