Pranayama - cooling breathing exercises for the summer
The fact that pranayama is as much a part of yoga practice for us as ketchup is of fries at the swimming pool is no longer a secret. Whether we need an extra portion of energy, want to really relax after a hard day's work, or simply want to take a few minutes to ourselves and come into the moment: the right breathing exercise can be found quickly in any case!
(Photo: “Настя Кудина – stock.adobe.com ”)
So it's probably not surprising that we resort to pranayama even on hot summer days - while some breathing exercises heat up the body and increase energy, other breathing exercises are great at helping to cool down the body.
Which breathing exercises help against heat?
Today we would like to introduce you to the four most well-known and popular pranayama cool-down poses: Sitali, Sitkari, Chandra Bheda and Surya Bheda.
All four breathing exercises are super simple and not only have a cooling effect, they can also be great for relaxing the body and mind and calming the nervous system.
When and how often can I do the breathing exercises?
You can do the exercises as often as you like. The only important thing is that you can do it in a quiet moment and undisturbed. Personally, I incorporate the pranayamas directly into my morning routine and repeat them throughout the day as needed.
Now go ahead: Here are your instructions.
For more serenity: Sitali Pranayama
Before the oral exam or in case of stage fright, Sitali calms you down in all exciting moments of professional life or in private everyday life. The exercise is also beneficial in uncomfortable heat, because it cools the body. The exercise is also and especially recommended when fever sets in.
- Roll up the tongue lengthwise.
- Now you stretch them out of your mouth in this form of a tube or gutter.
- Breathe in slowly and very relaxed through the resulting tube, then slowly let the air out through your nose.
- Repeat the process until the cooling effect is clearly felt.
You see, with Sitali the tongue has to be rolled - but genetically this is not possible for all people. If you can't roll your tongue, that's no problem at all! Alternatively, there is the possibility of pressing the tongue against the roof of the mouth and teeth and practicing the exercise like this - this variant is called Sitkari.
For whom is the exercise unsuitable?
If you suffer from asthma or low blood pressure, it is better to avoid Sitali and Sitkari. Sitali is also not recommended for constipation, excessive mucus secretion or bronchitis.
The moon breathing: Chandra Bheda (also Bhedana)
Chandra is nothing but the moon. In contrast to the alternating breathing described below, in this exercise you do not breathe alternately first through one nostril and then through the other, but "in a circle". Chandra Bheda inhales through the left nostril and exhales through the right.
Chandra Bheda calms both the mind and the body. Applied right before bedtime, the exercise promotes falling asleep. Before a meditation it helps with the preparation, in a particularly stressful situation it promotes relief.
- Find a comfortable and upright sitting position.
- Breathe in and out deeply a few times.
- Close the right nostril with your thumb and inhale deeply through the left nostril.
- The ring finger closes the left nostril and exhale through the right nostril.
- Open the left nostril and breathe in deeply again, then breathe out again on the right.
Do about 10 to 20 repetitions, 10 repetitions are enough for a beginner.
For whom is the exercise unsuitable?
This exercise is not suitable if low blood pressure has been diagnosed, or if you have asthma or depression. If in doubt, talk to your doctor, alternative practitioner, therapist or yoga teacher beforehand - that way you are on the safe side.
Alternating Nose Breathing: Surya Bheda Pranayama
Surya Bheda, which is also described as Nadi Shodana, has a calming and balancing effect with beneficial effects on the entire organism. This exercise also helps to reduce internal heat. The incoming air immediately cools and relaxes, and this application also strengthens your breath.
Some teachers recommend Surya for insomnia. The exercise also improves appetite and digestion, relieves depression or anxiety, and calms the nervous system.
- Find a comfortable sitting position, preferably cross-legged.
- The right hand moves up and closes the left nostril with its ring finger.
- Now breathe in deeply and quickly through the right nostril.
- Plug your right nostril with your thumb.
- Then open your left nostril and exhale slowly and evenly.
- Now inhale deeply through the same nostril, namely the left one.
- Now close the left nostril with the help of the ring finger.
- Now exhale on the right.
Advanced yogis can pause between inhaling and exhaling. But never hold your breath for so long that it becomes uncomfortable or you feel like you're not getting enough oxygen. Breathing should remain calm and relaxed at all times.
You can do the alternating breathing for a few rounds, 8 to 10 rounds are good to start with.
With these breathing exercises you are well prepared for the next summer days - if you need to cool down even more: Just try yoga at the lake! There is nothing more refreshing than jumping into the cool water after a few asanas.
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