During the dog days of summer we're familiar with the usual methods of cooling off: AC, dips in cool lakes, watermelon, and tall glasses of iced tea or lemonade often do the trick.
Yogis, however, use yet another way; and it's one that we doesn't require paying an electricity bill or going on vacation.
We can cool down through our very own breath. That's right, one particular form of yogic breathing, called sitali (pronounced sheet-ah-lee) in Sanskrit, cools down the body when it's feeling overheated, as well as the mind and heart, when fiery emotions like anger and jealousy arise.
Here's how to do it:
1. Find a comfortable seat, either on the floor or on a chair. Make sure that your spine is long and tall.
2. Close your eyes and take several breaths, linking your mind to your breath. Feel and observe your inhalation and exhalation, gradually turning your senses inwards.
3. Then, if you can curl your tongue (a genetic trait that you either have or don't have), do so on the inhalation as you lift your chin slightly. Imagine that you are drinking in cool air. If you can't curl your tongue, part your lips and teeth slightly and place the tip of your tongue behind your upper row of teeth. Imagine that you are drinking cool air into the space between your teeth.
4. As you exhale, close your mouth, lower your chin so that it is parallel to the floor, and imagine that you're breathing warm air out of your nostrils.
5. Do this several times. (If you start to feel light headed or strained in any way, return to a natural, full breath.)
6. Once you've completed these rounds, return to your natural breath, watching it rise and fall. Slowly open your eyes and return to the outer world, refreshed and revived.
I'm curious, how do you feel now?
*It's best to do this at least two hours after a large meal.
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