Namaste and welcome to the first hours of the summer season (depending on your location) and Summer Solstice for All! Here are some tips for remaining cool, firstly try to think about interior areas of the body as well as exterior. Hydration is important and some tips to enhance this are: to place cucumber slices in a water pitcher, (room temperature water is best). Cucumber helps to cool down our tissues. Also, lemon slices in water helps to cool the interior spaces. Use a basin and fill with either combination cucumber or lemon and water and frequently sponge off the exterior parts of the body, then use the basin to soak your feet in. After getting used to these cool sponge baths one may choose to strengthen the body and make it more resistant to temperature changes by taking cool showers. This constricts the blood vessels at the surface and drives tremendous circulation to the internal organs. By doing this the interior organs will have better oxygenation (especially if one is doing regular kriya and pranayama/breathing exercises), this also helps the body functions move to higher levels so that elimination processes may move waste/toxins away and out of our bodies. If you are not used to this start with the cool towels and start to lower the shower water from hot to warm and warm to cooler and cooler temperatures. This also will save energy from making hot water and perhaps utility bills may lower during this season. Interesting note that even during the hottest days it is always best to refrain from ice-cold drinks as the interior organs function best with warm fluids. Our temperatures are in the range of 98.6 Fahrenheit and an ice chilled beverage is about 35 degrees that is a huge difference and shock to these organs. Cold in the stomach constricts the blood vessels, limiting blood supply to the stomach reduces gastric juices doing their digestive work which can affect our immune system. So to recap, use cool and cold applications on the exterior parts of the body and keep warm and room temperature fluids and foods for inside the body.
Do find the coolest place with the most shade to sit during the hottest times of the day and place the feet in a bucket/tub with cool water, put on your favorite music and just chill. If we can understand that perspiration is a healthy natural process that allows us to release toxins that accumulate over time from our systems perhaps we can embrace the heat, as long as there are no health conditions that require precautions. If your constitution will allow you to experience the heat try to come out of the air-conditioned spaces for a while for a free sauna. (n.b. this is also a good time for a natural facial with cucumber, avocado, turmeric powder, carrot, chickpea flour, sandalwood paste, almond oil, lavender oil-any combination will be fine mixed with a little rosewater or coconut water-keep on for at least 20 minutes and as long as you like, the longer the better.)
Doing pranayama/conscious breathing exercises, regularly allows us to have good oxygen content in our cells as well as aids in breathing well in different climates. One of the best pranayama to do when it is hot is Sitali and there are many how-to-videos on YouTube. It’s recommended to do a series of different pranayama daily and to add Sitali as your final one for the session followed by sitting quietly or resting/lying on the back on the cool floor or bed. This rest time should be from 7 to 14 minutes to allow the cells to receive the benefits from the pranayama.
As many have the benefit of weather forecaster information, when it is correct, sometimes this can help us pick and choose activities that will best be suited for the temperatures. If one chooses to experience the heat with out air conditioning and has the flexibility to choose how to spend the day-perhaps choosing to work in a cool shaded spot while reading,working remotely via computing or attending chores. Sitting lower towards the ground or on the ground will be the coolest place.
Do remember that experiencing extreme changes with temperatures may endanger one’s health so be cautious with yourself and check on those family, friends and neighbors who have health conditions that may be challenged by the heat wave. Give a call and share some of the ideas mentioned and if you can take your plastic bucket and some cukes or lemons over and have a chat while they chill!!
Happy Summer Solstice Namaste!
n.b. Coconut water also helps to cool down the interior organs and tissues along with nourishing them, one of the best natural foods for us.