Renew & Restore Detox Kit
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As warm summer nights heat your body, you may be looking for a way to cool down. Fans and air conditioning can be drying and cumbersome, but ancient pranayama techniques can help create coolness from within. Pranayama, one of the eight limbs of yoga, is a collection of breath exercises. Prana is that life force energy within you and yama is restraint, so together, pranayama translates to life force control or control of the breath.
Breathing is something you do all day, and you don’t usually think about it. But paying attention to your breath cycles can be a powerful practice in focus and can relieve stress and calm the nervous system.
The following practices can be combined with meditation and yoga asana or be performed on their own to help relieve excess heat. Some of these practices may lead to slight lightheadedness, so always make sure you’re in a comfortable, safe place, preferably seated on a couch or cushion.
Alternate nostril breathing is a calming pranayama technique. It is wonderful to practice before meditation, before bed, or simply to reset midday. Alternating nostrils as you breathe with mindfulness also brings energetic awareness to each side of the body and each side of the brain, which may allow you to feel more balanced in body, mind, and spirit.
That is one full breath cycle of nadi shodhana. Continue and repeat as long as you would like.
This breath practice is like drinking a sweet, cool beverage through a straw on a hot summer day. The sweetness is your breath! As you curl your tongue into a straw, you’ll sip the nectar of prana and feel rejuvenated.
Repeat several rounds. If you are not able to curl your tongue, open your mouth just enough to show your teeth and breathe in through the sides of your teeth. Then exhale through your nose. You’ll still feel the coolness in your mouth.
This is an even, calming breath practiced during a restorative yoga posture. Sama means same in Sanskti while vritti means fluctuations. The fluctuations of the breath—the in breaths and the out breaths—are the same length for this pranayama practice. You decide how long they will be, but keep them equal.
When you are through, roll to your side and come up to a comfortable seat.
This is a go-to practice for cooling down quickly. It’s also a good face stretch and a way to reset anytime during the day. As you exhale, you can imagine the physical and emotional heat leaving your body. Super brave breathers
will practice this one in public.
Dogs don’t sweat, they release heat from their bodies by sticking out their tongues. Try it—it works for humans as well! This is a Kundalini Yoga pranayama practice.
May these practices bring you a sense of well-being and revitalized energy. Enjoy the many benefits of paying attention to your breath, including feeling cooler—inside and out!
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.
Discover how to use one of the simplest, most effective tools you have—your breath—to feel less stressed and more energetic with Breathwork, our self-paced online course. Learn More.