According to Ayurveda, the year is divided into two kaals i.e. Uttaryan (Aaadaan Kaal) and Dakshinyaan (Visarga Kaal). This division is done according to the position of the sun. The word aadaan kaal means taking away and visarga means giving. In Aadaan Kala, the sun and the wind are powerful. The sun takes away the strength of the people and cooling qualities of the earth. During this kaal all living beings are weakened and the kapha in the body,
According to Ayurveda, the year is divided into two kaals i.e. Uttaryan (Aaadaan Kaal) and Dakshinyaan (Visarga Kaal). This division is done according to the position of the sun. The word aadaan kaal means taking away and visarga means giving. In Aadaan Kala, the sun and the wind are powerful. The sun takes away the strength of the people and cooling qualities of the earth. During this kaal all living beings are weakened and the kapha in the body, decreases day by day. Summer or the grishm ritu is the last season of Aadaan kala which comes after dewy season i.e. sishira and spring i.e. vasant ritu. This summer season starts in mid May and continues till mid July. Ancient yogis keenly observed the changes which took place during all seasons and they not only described our food & lifestyle but also various yogic asanas and pranayama which could keep our body cool and calm during hot summer days. A few of them are described here.
Shavasana- When it is very hot, we need extra rest to rejuvenate our body and brain. If we give our self 10-20 minutes, shavasana can gives wonderful results. It cools our body instantly, but if we want to make it extra special then we can place a cool moist cloth over our head with few drops of sandalwood oil.
Lie down on the back on a mat in a completely natural and comfortable position. Let the toes turn out to the sides. Arms are down by the sides with the palms facing up. Close the eyes and relax jaws, forehead, eyes, lower back, thigh and feet. Concentrate on breathing and feel like a fish swimming in a lake & remain in this position for 10-20 minutes then come out slowly and stay cool for the whole day.
It is one of the most important asanas which could bring back refresh mood in hot sunny days. Sit with legs straight in front of you, slowly bend the knees and bring soles of feet together. Now bring heals as close as to pelvis. Hold your toes with fingers and try to keep the outer edges of feet firmly on the floor. Sit with back straight and gently move heads of thigh bone upwards and downwards. Stay in this position for 1-5 minutes then slowly bring back your legs in extended position. Gently take deep breath and then lie down and relax the hips and thighs. This pose gives feeling of coolness, calmness and rejuvenation.
Ancient yogis followed the shashankasana pose from the rabbit and the moon. As moon connotes serenity and tranquility, similarly shashankasana is said to have relaxing and alleviating properties. It is an uncomplicated asana which can be performed by anyone irrespective of age. To do shashankasana, sit in vajrasana & while inhaling, take the arms above the head & while exhaling lower your body starting from the trunk, back and head to ground. Try to touch your forehead and hands to the ground. Keep yourself in this position for 5-10 seconds. Then inhale and raise your arms and body. Bring the arms down on thighs. Repeat this asana for 5-6 times to regulate nervous system. It wounds off feeling of anger and sadness, brings fresh thoughts and new ideas in brain.
This pranayama is also known as cooling breath. It is such a breathing technique which can cools not only body but also our mind and emotions. The word sheetali comes from Sanskrit word means cold. To practise sheetali, choose a comfortable posture in sitting position like sukhasana, swastikasana, padmasana etc. Now take your tongue out and role the lateral edges upwards that tongue become just like a tube. Inhale through the curled tongue as if breathing through a straw. While inhaling feel the coolness of air in mouth, neck and lungs. During exhaling, use nose to exhale and feel the warmth of air exhaled at nostrils. Gently repeat the breathing technique 20-30 times. At the end, lie down on your back and relax.
This pranayama cools the body and cleans excessive heat. It soothes mental tranquility. It also quells excessive thirst and controls negative thoughts. Thus these qualities make sheetali pranayama a true wonderful breathing exercise of summer season.
Bhramari is the sanskrit word from 'bee' and this pranayama is named because of the humming sound produced at the back of throat which is just like the gentle humming of a bee.
Bhramari pranayama is particularly potent in the early morning and at late night when there are fewer distracting noises. But it can also be done any time of the day. For practising bhramari pranayama, sit in comfortable pose & allow spine to lengthen so that back, neck and head are erect. Gently close lips, keep the jaws slightly apart. Then close each ear with thumbs, place the index finger at midpoint of the forehead just above eyebrows. Middle finger gently on eyes, ring finger on sides of nostrils and little finger at corner of lips. Then take a deep breath through nostrils and exhale slowly by making a steady low pitch 'hmmm' sound at the back of throat like humming of bees. Focus on constant steady sound and feel the vibrations in the body. Notice the vibrations bringing calmness to body and mind. After practising for 10-15 minutes, our body cools down and thus making the bhramari pranayama perfect cooling breathing technique.
As summer is the hottest, longest and most tiring season in India, hot winds blow all the day long, scorching the faces of human beings and choking them with dust. Due to perspiration energy level reduces to the lowest one. In all these days, yoga is the only solution. Trying yoga for just 45 minutes daily can help to overcome the dullness and low energy drive. It is best to go outdoors in morning & evening, visit nearly parks, beaches and relax there under open sky. Try yogic asanas & pranayama to beat the summer heat this time.
Shavasana relaxes our whole body, relieves stress, fatigue and excellent as asana for cooling body and mind during summer.
Pranayama like sheetali, sheetkari and bhramri are truly very helpful in hot summer days. They can be tried by all age groups.