How to keep cool using meditation and breathing exercises

How to Keep Cool Using Meditation and Breathing Exercises

It’s never been this hot.

Mainland Europe is breaking heat records and I can’t use air conditioning because the energy prices are so high. So what do I do?

That’s when I started looking into how to keep cool using meditation and breathing exercises.

So if you’re looking for a free and easy way to cool down, this article may help.

Shitali Pranayama – The cooling breath

If you’re reading this you are probably too hot and bothered to hear about all the science and benefits of meditation, so let’s get straight to a practical exercise to cool you down.

Shitali Pranayama is a literal Sanskrit translation for “cooling”.

How to keep cool using meditation and breathing exercises using Shitali Pranayama

Steps to practice cooling breath

  • Find a comfortable position in the coolest part of your home or a shaded place outdoors.
  • Stick your tongue out and roll it to create an ‘O’
  • Slowly breathe in through your tongue for as long as you can, and pause for a moment
  • Put your tongue back in your mouth and then slowly breathe out through your nose
  • Repeat this for about 5 – 10 minutes until you feel the cooling effects

If you at any point feel your head spin, stop the exercise immediately.

If Shitali Pranayama isn’t quite your style, or if you’re looking to explore more ways to keep cool through meditation and breathing, here are some alternative techniques you can try:

Sheetkari Pranayama – The Hissing Breath

This practice is similar to Shitali but is performed with clenched teeth.

  • Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
  • Clench your teeth together and open your lips as wide as you can.
  • Inhale slowly through the gaps in your teeth, feeling the cool air as it passes over them.
  • Close your mouth and exhale through your nose.
  • Repeat for 5-10 minutes.

Mindful Breathing

Mindful breathing can help calm the mind and body, making you feel cooler.

  • Find a quiet space and sit comfortably.
  • Focus on your breath, noticing the sensation as you breathe in and out.
  • If your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath.
  • Continue for as long as you like, aiming for at least 5 minutes.

Cooling Visualization Meditation

Using your imagination, you can visualize cooling scenes to help lower your body temperature.

  • Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
  • Close your eyes and imagine a cool place, like a snowy mountain or a refreshing waterfall.
  • Focus on the sensations you would feel in that place, such as the cool breeze or the chill of the snow.
  • Stay in this visualization for 10-15 minutes.

Cold Water Breathing

This technique involves using cold water to enhance the cooling effect.

  • Fill a bowl with cold water and add some ice if available.
  • Dip your wrists or feet in the water and take slow, deep breaths.
  • Focus on the sensation of the cold water and how it cools your body.
  • Continue for 5-10 minutes.

These alternative techniques offer other ways to approach cooling down, both physically and mentally.

Experiment with them to find what works best for you, and remember to listen to your body and stop if you feel any discomfort.

Whether you’re facing a heatwave or just a particularly warm day, these practices can be a valuable addition to your toolkit for staying cool and comfortable.

Using meditation to stay cool

Embracing the heat

Hopefully, after that exercise, you’ll feel a little cooler. But if you really want to get feel cooler, you might also want to add some meditation to your routine.

It is possible to enhance your heat tolerance through repeated exposure to hot conditions.

According to Dr. Jessica Mee, a lecturer, and researcher in the School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Sciences at Bangor University in Wales, practicing Bikram yoga in a heated room can be seen as a type of heat training.

After about 15 sessions spread over four weeks, individuals tend to undergo specific physical adaptations that enable them to better handle heat stress.

Mental resilience

Dr. Norman Farb, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto Mississauga, talks about how our minds can affect how we feel in hot or cold weather.

He says that if we think it’s too hot or cold, our bodies can react by making us feel even hotter or colder. This can create a stressful cycle that makes things worse.

He points out that practices like meditation can help us focus on what we’re really feeling, rather than what we think we’re feeling. This can make us stronger mentally and help us handle extreme temperatures better.

However, he also warns that we can’t just rely on our minds to control how our bodies react to the weather. Even if we think we can handle the heat or cold, our bodies still have limits.

If we push ourselves too far, we might actually put ourselves in danger of overheating or freezing. He reminds us that it’s not always as simple as just thinking our way through it.

The takeaway

In the face of record-breaking heat and high energy costs, turning to meditation and breathing exercises like Shitali Pranayama can be a free and effective way to cool down.

By combining physical techniques with mental resilience, you can enhance your ability to handle heat. But remember, while the mind is powerful, it’s essential to recognize the body’s limits to avoid potential risks.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be construed as professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms of any mental health condition, we strongly advise consulting with a qualified healthcare professional.

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