Mindful Moment: Cool down with your breath

June 20, 2016 | Julie Luzarraga


As temperatures rise this week use your breath to cool down.  When we practice mindfulness the body naturally begins to cool down. Bringing attention to one thing, without judgment engages the parasympathetic nervous system, which is like putting the brakes on internally.  When we’re hot physically or even emotionally hot and bothered, mindfulness can help us “chill out.”

You can add to this mindful moment by practicing the cooling breath or Sitali (see Yoga International’s post on Sitali for more details).  To begin practicing, find a quiet and comfortable seated position.

  • Sitting tall and with an open heart, bring your lips to form an ‘O’ shape.
  • Stick your tongue out slightly and curl it (if you can’t curl your tongue see Sitkari practice).
  • Slowly breathe in, noticing the cool air as it comes over the tongue.
  • Breathe out the same way.
  • Do this for a few moments, continuing to focus your attention on your breath.

After practicing you may be able to do this as needed; like when you get into a hot car, outside on a hot day or after a run or a heated moment!

Mindful moments are short practices to be used throughout your week to relax, integrate and center yourself.  Inspired by the wisdom traditions and science, mindful moments are meant to be accessible and simple enough for anyone to practice.  Many teachers and leaders in integrative medicine have influenced our approach to mindful moments. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”  Pema Chodron would say it is “practicing in the gaps.”  Look for the weekly mindful moment every Monday.  May it support you in finding your center to live life to the fullest.

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