John Travolta and Olivia Newton John had it right when they sang their hearts out to Summer Lovin' in Grease. Just like our response to love, the heart is sensitive to heat. Summer Lovin'.
Every one degree rise in body temperature, the heart beats an extra 10 times per minute! The faster it beats the more you might feel overstimulated. Summer heat and long sunny days bring us out from the house and hibernation. In turn, it might be hard to calm down in time for bed as well as find sleeping comfortable on hot summer nights.
Just like the unpredictability of summer, too much heart heat can leave us feeling scattered, anxious and agitated. Long play in the sun can leave ourselves and children finding it hard to cool down.
To bring calm coolness to the mind and body, yoga brings us the healing breath. In my recent adult and family classes, I shared two breath techniques to practice during the warm and fun months of summer. Cooling Breath and Hissing Breath. I share the outline of each below to help readers cool their minds, emotions and bodies. Enjoy!
Cooling Breath (sitali breath):
Take two or three deep inhales and exhales through your nose to center yourself in preparation for this pranayama practice.
Roll your tongue, curling the sides in towards the center to form a tube or straw. Stick the end of the tongue out between your pursed lips. If you can’t roll your tongue, purse your lips instead, making a small “o” shape with your mouth. In this case, keep your tongue against the back side of your bottom teeth.
Inhale slowly through the tube formed by your tongue as if you were sipping air through a straw. Let the breath expand your chest and fill your belly. If your lips are pursed in an "o" shape, channel the air through that opening.
Close your mouth and exhale slowly through your nose.
Hissing Breath (Sheetkari Pranayama):
Push the tongue upwards so that the lower part of the tongue touches the upper palate.
Clench the teeth together. Pull the lips apart so that the teeth are exposed.
Breathe in slowly through the clenched teeth. Breathing in, a slight hissing sound is produced similar to the hissing of a snake.
Hold the breath for some time, as much as you are comfortable
Release and exhale slowly through the nose.
This is one round of Sheetkari Pranayama. Complete as many rounds as you may feel comfortable.
Written by Brooke Halperin
Brooke teaches every Tuesday at Good Juju Lombard. Sign up for class at goodjujuyoga.com