Cool Your Jets in a Minute or Less

heat pranayama sitali Jun 07, 2022

Whew!  If you're in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is here!  Even if you're in the cooler parts, you know the heat is on its way. So how can we get into the practice of cooling off before the heat builds up to a boiling point?

 

As I was moving rocks and pulling weeds in my backyard this weekend, I remembered my favorite tool for cooling off IN THE MOMENT.  Those of you who have been studying with me for a while already know where I'm headed: sitali pranayama. 

 

Pronounced shee-ta-lee, this cooling breath exercise may look a little silly, but it's well worth the embarrassment.  (And if you're tuning out like, "I got this. Moving on!" then I challenge you to do one minute before you click the back button and see how you feel :)

 

Here's how to bring the cooling magic:  

  • Inhale through a rolled tongue. 
  • Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth and exhale through your nose.  

 

That's it! It's an easy and ...

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How to make space when you feel compressed

 

 

I don't know about you, but for me, time is starting to feel compressed. Like there's a lot to fit into a 24 hour period or a seven-day week. And when I start to feel that compression, what I've realized is that what I need is inner spaciousness.  

 

To get this feeling of inner spaciousness, start by doing all you can do about the outer world, like removing things from the calendar or reducing commitments as much as possible.  From there, try these things:

 

  • Be only where you are.  Try not to look ahead where everything is coming at you.  Be right where you are, and bring your attention to your body, your breath, and your surroundings.  That future stuff isn’t here yet. Just be here.
  • Practice inversions.  Flip your perspective, increase blood flow to the brain, and drain the lymphatic system to gain some clarity and reduce fatigue.  It’s as simple as lying on your back with legs up the wall.  Take...
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The Long Exhale

Happy Winter Solstice!  

I like to think of this day as the end of Earth's very long (6 months!) exhale. You know that point where there's a brief pause before the inhale begins?  That's what today is.  The longest night of the year.  The least amount of sun, or the least amount of breath in the lungs.  

It's a beautiful time to get quiet and be present with what is.  It's a beautiful time to experience rest and get in the groove of what Mother Nature is doing in winter. 

 

Try this pranayama involving khumbaka, or breath retention:

  • Take a slow, deep inhale.
  • Let it slowly dissolve into an exhale. 
  • Follow your breath with your mind.
  • At the end of the exhale, pause.
  • Rest in the empty stillness.
  • After a few beats let the inhale return. 
  • Repeat several times and notice how you feel.

 

Here's the thing: the inhale will always return.  So does the sun. So will the light. This too...

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