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BEAT THE HEAT

Stay Cool and Re-energies with YOGA.

It’s one of those hot, sweltering summer days, when it feels as though every ounce of energy has been drained from you. So how do you meet the demands of your day when your body and mind have called it quits due to excessive temperatures?

As we head into another long summer, we need to make some lifestyle changes to cope with the hot months ahead. Yes, most of us will be in exclusively Air-conditioned environments whether at home, while travelling, working or even enjoying leisure time. However, this does not mean that the blazing sun outside will have no effect on our lives!

The first thing to understand is the importance of the transition phase from winter to summer. Usually this is the period when most people fall ill, and viral infections are very likely. This happens usually because people continue with their habits from winter months into the beginning of summer, for example walking outdoors. The exposure to the hot sun ensures that you suffer from a headache, and possibly makes you vulnerable to suffering from a sore nose, throat or a fever. To overcome this, rest is needed. Also the body needs time to re-adjust its functioning to the changed outside environment. However, we see many people just going on with their lives without as much as taking notice of the seasonal change!



Exercising in summer:

As an adaptation technique for the heat, the heart pumps larger amounts of blood to the surface area of the body. This causes enhanced perspiration, which in turn causes the body to cool down. Hence it is advisable to exercise during the cooler morning time or evening time. Avoid exercising during the mid-day, noon and afternoon time. Also, avoid excessive cardio workouts, and possibly do more swimming than running.

Summer Foods:

The single most important item to be consumed in summer is Water! Constantly re-hydrate your body with water. Remember: when you feel thirsty, the damage has already been done! Thirst is a warning signal that the body emits.
Eat a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables and salads. Also, you could consume more curd and buttermilk.
Minimize your intake of non-vegetarian foods, fried foods and spicy food. Also reduce your intake of tea, coffee and alcohol, as they will cause the body to feel dehydrated.
Take some time to try a few yoga techniques. These breathing techniques will have the effect of cooling and re-energizing your body, and calming your mind.

Yogic Breathing to Cool Down
Left nostril breathing enhances the functioning of Ida Nadi. This subtle “nadi” or energy pathway is dominant in mental work, as opposed to the right nostril which enhances the functioning of Pingala Nadi, associated with physical work. The left nostril breathing cools down the body. Hence in summer months it is advised that one practices Chandra Bheda Pranayam. Also, Sheetkari and Sheetli Pranayam are highly recommended for their cooling effect. In terms of asana practice, it is advised to refrain from highly strenuous practice.



1) Sheetkari Pranayama (Hissing Breath)
Sit comfortably with your eyes closed, and back straight.
Open your mouth, keeping your teeth together.
Breathe deeply through also helps to calm the physical your mouth and feel the cool air pass through your teeth.
At the end of the breath close your mouth.
Retain the breath for a moment, and then breathe out through your nose.
Practice any time during the day. Start with 5-9 rounds.
Practice Note: If the body becomes too cold, stop the practice.
Do not practise if you have a cold, cough or fever.

Benefit : This pranayama is designed to reduce the body temperature. The practice body and mind.


2) Sheetali Pranayama (Cooling Breath)

Sit comfortably with your eyes closed, and back straight.
Extend the tongue outside the mouth as far as possible without any strain.
Roll the sides of the tongue up so that it forms a tube.
Inhale and draw the breath in through this tube.
Draw the tongue in, close the mouth and exhale through the nose.
Inhalation should produce a noise like that of the wind. The tongue and back of mouth will feel cold.
Practice any time during the day. Start with 5-9 rounds.

Practice Note: If the body becomes too cold, stop the practice.
Do not practise if you have a cold, cough or fever.

Benefit : This pranayama is designed to reduce the body temperature. The practice also helps to calm the physical body and mind.


3) Chandra Bheda Pranayama (Moon Piercing Breath)

Sit comfortably with your eyes closed, and back straight.
Close your right nostril with your right thumb.
Inhale through your left nostril, and then close the left nostril with your ring finger. (Now both nostrils are closed)
Release your thumb, and exhale through the right nostril.
Always inhale through the left and exhale through the right nostril.
Practice 10 rounds.

Practice Note: People going through mental depression should avoid this Pranayama.

Benefit: Calms the practitioner, and makes him introverted.
Cools the system.
Practice these yogic techniques regularly and be fresh, healthy and happy!
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