YOGIC MANAGEMENT OF SUMMER WOES

summer-sun
With spontaneous changes in climate globally, summer sun has already reached various parts of India starting February itself. Atmosphere is less cool even during night and early morning. Profuse sweating, fatigue, skin irritations, eye diseases, sunburns, fevers, different types of air and water-borne illnesses, etc are coming along with increased heat in the atmosphere. Rise in temperature affects brain functions too and one may feel stressed easily during summertime. Other than AC, cooler, fan, having ice-cold fluids and foods, let us see how Yoga can help us manage different summertime woes.

Three simple pranayamas, which instantly cools the body;
1.  SHEETHALI:
Sit in a comfortable position with palms on the knees. Close your eyes. Put your tongue out and roll the tongue from sides to forms a narrow tube. Breathe in through this narrow tube and pull the tongue in and close the mouth. Breathe out through both nostrils. You can do 10 counts or as much as you feel comfortable. This pranayama cools and soothes body and mind, quenches thirst, good for hypertension, and a very good cure for dry mouth and mouth ulcers. Avoid this pranayama if you have cold or chest infection.
2.  SHEETHKARI:
Sit in a comfortable position with palms on the knees. Close your eyes. Open your lips and join the upper and lower rows of teeth. Then, through the little space between your tooth, breathe in air with a hissing sound “ssss.” Close your lips and breathe out through nose. You can do 10 counts or as much as you feel comfortable. This pranayama has its benefits similar to Sheethali pranayama and is easier for those who could not roll their tongue as in Sheethali pranayama. Avoid this pranayama if you have cold or chest infection.
3.  CHANDRABHETHI:
Sit in a comfortable position with palms on the knees. Close your eyes. Make your right hand in Vishnu mudra by folding the index and middle fingers and touching them at the base of thumb while thumb, ring finger and small finger remain straight. Let the left palm rest on your knees. Close your right nostril with thumb of right hand. Breathe in through left nostril. Close the left nostril with the ring finger and breathe out through right nostril. This is one round of Chandrabhethi. You can do 10 counts or as much as you feel comfortable. This pranayama cures heartburn, cools body, calms mind, removes fatigue and lethargy and also good for hypertension. Avoid this pranayama if you have cold or chest infection.

Other natural methods to face summer heat are:
1. Drink plenty of fluids.
2. Use natural cooling herbs like vetiver (Khus), coriander leaves, coriander seeds, sandalwood, aloe vera, turmeric, mint leaves, fennel seeds, and asparagus in diet and skin applications.
3. Use gulkand made from rose petals kept in sugar, as itself or with a glass of milk at mid-day and before bedtime.
4. Drink buttermilk with lots of water and crushed curry leaves, ginger, mint leaves, coriander leaves, and salt.
5. Drink thandai made from boiled and cooled milk mixed with crushed fennel seeds, almond/melon seeds, black pepper, poppy seeds (khus-khus), saffron strands, cardomom, and enough sugar.
6. Use cooling and alkaline fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumber, musk melon, apple in more quantities while reduce acidic fruits like lemon, oranges, pineapple, tomatoes, etc.
7. Wear light weight light colored and comfortable fitting cotton clothes. White, light green, baby pink, blue, yellow, orange, etc are cool summer colors.
8. Reduce the intake of spicy foods and caffiene, and if one can avoid them completely during summer, it is best to reduce body heat.
9. Put few drops of peppermint essential oil in bathwater and bathing twice daily is good.
10. Use natural moisturizing products on skin.

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BEDTIME YOGA FOR INSOMNIA

“Tossed here and there in bed, I could’nt sleep at night. I feel heavy-headed and feels nettled next morning that I get angry with everything I meet. I feel
constantly in fatigue even though I eat rich food and take all supplements,” said my yoga student. My student is a healthcare professional who is very busy
in career and family life. Being very busy, she is very stressed out with her mind hyperactive and nights sleepless, and it resulted her feeling exhausted
during daytime. Slowy, she began gaining weight around the hips and abdomen and got pains and tightness all over body. Expecting a cure through yoga than
depending on sleeping pills, she came to me.

ABDOMINAL BREATHING: I started her with simple abdominal breathing with one hand on belly and one hand on chest. I told her to sit straight in comfortable
cross-legged position with eyes closed and told her to feel the expansion of belly while she inhale and contraction of belly while she exhale. I gave her the
same for 9 counts and then told her to remain in comfortable breathing for few more seconds with eyes closed and open the eyes once she feel comfortable.
Once felt comfortable, she opened her eyes.

SASANGASAN (RABBIT POSE): I told her to sit on the heels (VAJRASAN/DIAMOND POSE) with spine straight and closed eyes. I then told her to slowly raise both
hands up with inhale and slowly bring both arms down with exhalation. Then I told her to inhale again and raise both arms up and bring them down with
exhalation. I gave her a count of 9. At the end of 9th count, I told her to remain her forehead on ground and place both hands to the side of the body
(BALASAN/CHILD POSE). I told her to remain in this position and breathe comfortably for a few seconds till she feel comfortable to come up sitting. Once felt
comfortable, she came up sitting and opened her eyes.

JANUSHIRSHASAN (HEAD TO KNEE POSE): I told her to extend her legs in front and shake them for a while. Then, I told her to fold right leg with heel touching
left thigh. I told her to straighten the spine and raise both hands up, inhale and while exhaling bring hands down slowly and try to touch the forehead on
knee and hands touch left heel. Then I told her to inhale again and raise both arms up and bring them down with exhalation and place forehead on knee. I gave
her a count of 9 on left and repeated the same on right 9 counts. After the 9th count, I told her to shake both legs in front and sit comfortably.

BRAHMARI PRANAYAMA (HUMMING BEE BREATH): I told her to sit on heels with spine straight (VAJRASAN) and eyes closed and place both thumbs on flaps of ears and
other four fingers resting on head (can perform this pranayama with other hands mudras too). I made her inhale through nose and while exhaling through nose
told her to make a “mmmm…sound” with her throat. Told her to repeat it 9 times and then to release hands and breathe comfortably with eyes still closed and
feel the inner silence. Once felt comfortable, she opened her eyes.

NADI SHODHAN PRANAYAMA (ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATHING): I told her to extend her legs in front and shake them for a while. Then, I told her to sit on heels
with spine straight (VAJRASAN). I told her to place left hand in CHIN MUDRA (thumb and index finger touching with other 3 fingers straight) and place it over
the left knee and right hand in VISHNU MUDRA (Fold index and middle fingers and touch both at the root of thumb with thumb, ring, and small finger straight).
I told her to close her right nostril with thumb and inhale deeply through left nostril and close the left nostril with ring finger while small finger
remaining straight. Then, I told her to open the right nostril and exhale through right nostril. I then made her inhale through the same right nostril and
close it with thumb and exhale through left nostril. I told her to inhale through the same left nostril, close it with ring finger and exhale through right
nostril. I gave her a count of 9. After the 9th count, I told her to release right hand from VISHNU MUDRA and make it in CHIN MUDRA and place it over the
right knee and breathe comfortably and observe the inner silence. Once felt comfortable, she opened her eyes.

SAVASAN (CORPSE POSE): I told her to lie on back with hands and legs straight and placed away from the body. I told her to do deep breathing with eyes
closed. I made her remain in savasan for 15 minutes. I chant “OM” to awake her, but she was sleeping. I waited for another 10 minutes for her to awake.
Seeing her still sleeping, I gently touched her feet and told her to awake slowly. She opened her eyes. I told her to remain them closed and told her to
gentle move her fingers and toes and hands and leg. I then told her to turn to interlock her fingers and stretch it overhead and turn on her right side and
come to comfortable sitting pose with eyes still closed. I told her to place her hands again in CHIN MUDRA and we chanted 3 “OMs” together and we gently
opened our eyes and said “Thank you”.

I told her to do each of these postures and breathing exercises for a minimum count of 9 to maximum up to her comfort at bedtime as a routine. I also told
her to switch off from social media, television, and mobile at least 1 hour prior to bedtime and suggested her drinking a cup of hot milk or chammomile tea
half an hour before bedtime yoga. I also told her the importance of quality sleep and nothing can replace the refreshment one gets from good sleep. Following
this routine at home, she got her sleep back and she is happy, healthy, and energetic than previous. Thanks to yoga 🙂

Navara – The Medicinal Rice

Navara (Oryza sativa Linn) holds an important place in Ayurveda and is called “The Medicinal Rice.” It can be used alone or in a combination with other herbs to treat many diseases. Navara rice boiled with cow’s or goat’s milk is a good weaning food for infants. It is a safe and healthy food to pregnant women. Navara rice cooked with milk and medicinal herbs can treat internal wounds. Navarakizhi is a famous treatment in Ayurveda. It cures neuromuscular disorders, make body supple, removes joint stiffness, cleanses body channels, and improves blood circulation. Rice porridge made of Navara is considered beneficial in preventing various diseases and is also considered a safe food for diabetics. Navara rice powder can be used to make puttu (steam cake), ada (thick crepe), skin pack (cooked in milk and applied to skin), etc. The following is the picture of Navara puttu with green gram curry – a healthy breakfast by me.20160206_092732