Breathing techniques that help you stay cool during hot summer days - and nights
July 19th, 2022,
3 min read
Did you know that breathing exercises not only help to calm you down mentally but can also help naturally decrease your body temperature? This is how to use your breathing as the perfect tool for feeling cooler during hot summer days and nights.
Although it’s true you can’t change the weather, you can always change your experience in the weather. When you change your breathing, you change your state of being, both physically and mentally.
What can you do when you feel overheated in summer? Try one of these breathing techniques to cool you down.
Sheetali Pranayama - also known as the cooling breath - is a breathing practice that very effectively cools your body, your mind, and your emotions. The word sheetali means cooling in Sanskrit and is taken from the original word sheetal, which translates roughly as ‘that which is calm, and soothing’.
The cooling breath cools the body and mind and has a calming effect on the blood pressure as well as the nervous system. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system by triggering a rest and digest reaction. This technique is said to also reduce acidity, hypertension, and indigestion.
How to practice? To start, sit comfortably on a chair or meditation pillow and close your eyes. Stick out your tongue as far as possible, roll it up, and shape it as a tube. Inhale maximum through the rolled tongue, like sipping air with a straw. Breathe slowly. As you inhale, the air is cooled down by the moist tongue, and you'll feel the air being colder when entering your body. Then close your mouth and exhale gently and slowly through your nostrils.
This is one round of the cooling breath. Practice 10 rounds to start with, slowly progressing up to 40 rounds if that feels good to you.
During hot summer nights, sleeping can be a challenge. You want to keep your body as calm and cool as possible, and your breathing will help you in doing so.
This downregulating breathing technique focuses on longer exhales and helps you unwind and sleep better. Imagine inhaling as the accelerator of your internal system, and exhaling as the brakes. When you make the exhales longer than the inhales, it gives your internal engine more time to rest. This prevents the body from overheating and, instead, allows it to cool off.
How to practice? You can perform this breathing exercise in a comfortable seated position, or lying down. Close your eyes, relax your muscles, and take one deep breath or sigh to start. Then breathe slowly in through the nose for four counts. And breathe out through the nose for eight counts. Try to keep your body and mind as calm as possible. If you feel like exhaling in eight counts is too much, then try a 3:6 or 2:4 ratio. As long as your exhales are longer than your inhales.
Repeat for 5 to 10 cycles, or simply continue until you feel calm(er) and cool(er) - or have fallen asleep. Moonbird has a pre-set program that is specifically designed to guide you in this downregulating rhythm, to trigger deep relaxation and sleep. Test moonbird for 14 days to see how it works yourself.
Enjoy a calm and soothing summer!
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