Did you know that people living in Southern climates here in the U.S. are more susceptible to aggressive behavior?!! With that added aggression comes the stress of managing our attitudes and perceptions. Not to mention, heat can also cause inflammation which can be very disruptive to the systems of our body. This especially affects absorption of nutrients and triggers the chronic stress response which limits our bodies healing capabilities.
So you see, learning to cool down is key to managing summertime stressors. Although we’ve had a pretty mild summer, the dog days are here. Let your body cool down and naturally promote a calmer you by first honoring the season’s bounty of cooling fruits and veggies loaded with hydrating properties. Hydration is sometimes more challenging during the summer months, leading to more complaints of inflammatory issues like tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, muscle strains, and overuse injuries. Feed these injuries first with cooling foods that promote healing, like watermelon and coconut water. Remember: proper hydration calls for half our body weight in ounces of water, daily.
Learn to listen to the pain. Pain means, “STOP.” We can mask these with drugs or even ignore them and push through the pain. But then the chronic stress response “fires up” which can wreak havoc to our nervous system and adrenals creating longer healing times. To restore balance we must first listen to our body and then respond to it’s needs.
One of my favorite cooling Yoga practices engages the breath. No spandex or sticky mat needed. Just a quiet place to focus. Your office chair will do or in your car before rush hour traffic. Remember to take a moment before and after in silent observation (meditation) to notice what’s going on inside you and what has changed afterwards.
Shitali Pranayama: (for those that can curl the tongue, like a straw)
- Gently stretch the tongue out of the mouth and curl the sides inward.
- SLOWLY draw air in through the tongue.
- Close the mouth and hold till the body is ready to exhale; no straining!
- SLOWLY exhale through the NOSE.
- Hold the breath out a few moments before beginning the next round.
Continue for 5 minutes; Try additional rounds throughout the day for a total of three, five minute sessions.
Sitkari Pranayama: (for those that cannot curl the tongue or prefer not to hold the breath)
- Gently press the tip of the tongue to the roof of the upper palate behind top teeth.
- SLOWLY draw air in through the openings along the side of the tongue.
- SLOWLY exhale through the NOSE.
Both of these breathing exercises are cooling and restorative. Focussed breath will rejuvenate your energy well, giving you clearer perception and a more balanced response (versus reactive). This type of breathwork sends the message to your nervous system to relax which creates better nutritional exchange for the digestive system and supports the natural chemical balance of hormones through our glands, thus reducing our stress response. Deep breathing literally replenishes the juiciness of our joints. When we breath well, we are well. Give it a try!
Want to learn more about Yoga Therapy and Bodywork practices that can ease stress, increase vitality and sustain energy? Book at your convenience 24/7 through my online scheduler. Although I’m not offering public classes at this time, I always have time for private sessions. If you’re not sure where to begin, take 10 min and fill out myYoga Therapy Questionnaire. These questions are designed to help you look deeper within, to see habits and desires and identifying what needs your attention.
Don’t forget, the easiest way to quench the fire within: Go enjoy a large body of water, and just breath!