Cool Your Inner Fire
If you’re feeling overheated or overwhelmed, Sitali (the Cooling Breath), can help you regulate your body temperature and calm your nervous system. In this episode of The Prana + Patchouli Podcast, I’ll guide you through a short breathing practice to cool, calm and centre you this summer.
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In summertime, the elements of fire and water are dominant, and the grounding element of earth and the cooling elements of air and space are more passive. This invites more lighthearted, go-with-the-flow energy, which makes summer feel free and fun, but our social schedules make it difficult to find the time to slow down and recharge.
Emotionally this can ignite stress, irritability, tension and frustration. And when our fight/flight response activates, our core body temperature increases.
The fire element also represents the third chakra, Manipura, located at the solar plexus, which is the part of our spiritual anatomy that influences our sense of self, including our will, personal power, desire, confidence and capacity to create.
Energetically, this is the seat of our inner fire, which is the fuel that feeds our desires to change the world and manifest our dreams into reality. When we’re in alignment here, we feel empowered, but too much fire can lead to burnout, while not enough can lead to a lack of self-esteem.
Breathwork is a beautiful way to bring yourself back into balance, by activating (with something like Kapalabhati) or soothing the solar fire (with cooling and calming techniques).
Physically, the hips and heart tend to be hotspots for tension and trapped heat, caused by physical and energetic blockages. So, poses that make space in those parts of your body create a sense of release and relief, remind you of the freedom you have inside yourself and support you in regulating your body temperature.
Pigeon is a pose that unlocks the flow of positive energy (prana) in your hips and helps you cool down. And since you’ll want to preserve whatever energy you have when it’s hot, passive heart-openers like Supported Fish or Butterfly will help you air out your heart with minimal effort.
Legs Up The Wall is another cooling, restorative pose that also relieves headaches, reduces inflammation and swelling, and calms the mind and body. It’s a nice way to tune in to yourself in the summer months, or on warmer days, depending on where you are in the world.
Looking for breath-by-breath guidance? I have a whole toolkit of cooling, calming and centring practices inside my LIGHTER Membership and I’d love to invite you to join me on the mat and practise with our community. And, if you want to learn how to channel your inner fire to let it fuel the creative visions of your heart, our sacred intention this month is devoted to nurturing that power. Click here to learn more and sign up.
And because I love to share practices that you can easily take off your mat and into your life, one of my favourite breathing techniques to do anytime, anywhere is Sitali Pranayama.
Sitali (The Cooling Breath)
Whenever you’re feeling overheated or overwhelmed, Sitali, otherwise known as the Cooling Breath, will help you regulate your body temperature and calm your nervous system. Start by curling your tongue (like a taco!) Or, if you can’t curl your tongue, flatten it (like a panting puppy!) Inhale through your mouth and curled tongue, pause, then exhale through your nose. Notice how your breath slows on the inhale. And release all the air out on the exhale. You can repeat this until you feel relief.
When you’re ready, let that breathing pattern go, so your body’s just breathing for you.
Notice if you feel a little more balanced now.
Let’s close the meditation with a mantra. Silently, or out loud, say to yourself: I am cool, calm and centred.
Taking that energy with you, inhale deeply and exhale completely as you float your eyelids open and let the light in.
Return to this anytime you feel overheated or overwhelmed.
From my heart to yours,
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