It’s a scorcher of a day, and you’ve consumed half your body weight in water (or ice cream).
You’ve tried to cart yourself from one air-conditioned place to the next, but in between, the sun beats down on your skin and heats you to your core.
We can’t change the prevalence of air conditioning, but the extreme temperature change can be very hard on your immune system and can dry your skin.
In India, there is no air conditioning in the ashrams where some go to immerse themselves in yoga. Deep asana (physical) practice is done in even the greatest of heat. This is one reason why Bikram created hot yoga rooms in North America – we don’t have the same environments.
Besides eating foods that can help to cool and hydrate the body (think watermelon and cucumber) Shitali Pranayama (or cooling breath practice) can help to make for an effective meditation during the summer. It may look a little silly, but so does the wilted look one gets from being overheated.
Prepare by sitting in a comfortable position (on the floor or on a chair or bench). Notice the temperature of the body.
Breathe in and out through the nose deeply.
Then when you feel ready, stick your tongue out of your mouth and roll it into a tube. Keep the end of your tongue out of your lips. If you can’t roll your tongue, make an O shape with your lips.
Breathe in through your mouth, and then out through your nose. Make each breath long and controlled, and repeat for 10 breaths.
Notice the temperature of the body again.
If you feel you need additional cooling, continue with the breathing technique to bring a more balanced temperature to the body.
Let your breathing be your air conditioning.