Five Tips to Stay Cool and Calm

Many a calm river begins as a turbulent waterfall, but none hurtles and foams all the way to the sea.
-Mikhail Lermontov

We have arrived at the heart of our summer, August. Bright sunny days of hot sun and sticky days of rain showers.  Heat and humidity.

And then there is the hectic energy of getting in the summer vacation, beach days and BBQs as well gearing up for back to school and the fall.

So how do we stay calm in the chaos?  How do we stay cool in the heat?

Here are five yoga and mindfulness activities to help keep you cool and calm.

  1. Practice Cooling Breath.  Take a comfortable seat, purse your lips like you are sipping through a straw and take a big cooling inhale through your lips.  Close your mouth hold the breath in and then exhale through the nose, pushing the air out through your throat.  You can also add Belly Breathing to this breath, filling your belly up on the inhale and emptying your belly and pulling your belly button back into your spine on the exhale.
  2. Take a time out and stand in Mountain Pose.  Feet two fists distance apart and parallel, tailbone slightly dropped, and arms relaxed with palms facing slightly forward.  As you inhale press into the feet, lift the rib off your waist crown of the head to sky. As you exhale keep the length in the body but relax through the ribs and let yourself ground down into your feet.  You can add a Cooling Breath here if you would like.  Stay here for 1 to 3 minutes focusing on breath and the energy of the breath in the body.
  3.  4-4-6-2 Breath ½ Sun Salutation. Start in Mountain pose and with palms facing sweep your arms forward and up inhaling for a 4-count as you go.  Keep the arms overhead, maybe even try standing on your toes, and hold the breath for 4 counts.  Big sweeping exhale down, staying slightly forward in the feet, belly button to spine, coming all the way down for a forward fold in 6 counts.  Hold in Forward Fold for 2-counts. Sweep arms forward and all the way up above your head, reaching to the sky, for a 4-count. Hold for 4.  Exhale for 6. Hold for 2.  Repeat.  Repeat for at least 4 to 6 rounds.  Try closing your eyes and really going inside. This video from our At Home with Diane series shows you exactly what to do:
  4. The next time a rainstorm comes along take a Mindfulness mini-break.  Find a comfortable seat where you can really hear the rain.  Close your eyes and listen to the rain.  Find places of tightness or tension in your body or mind.  Imagine the soft cooling rain falling softly over your body washing all the tightness and tension away down onto the floor and out into the earth, leaving you feeling peaceful relaxed and at ease.
  5.  Cool Down with Lavender.  For your next savasana or meditation use a cooling lavender washcloth over your eyes.  To prepare the cloth dampen and then place in a baggie or Tupperware with a few drops of lavender.  Place in the refrigerator for a couple hours or the freezer for about 20 minutes.  Lay down on your mat in savasana, maybe placing your feet over a bolster or pillow.  Place the chilled lavender cloth over you eyes and relax.  Let yourself come into the vast, clear, and infinite blue sky. Let your thoughts drift by like clouds.  Relax and refresh.

I love this poem by Mary Oliver.  It’s words fill me with peace and a smile of joy.  Perhaps you can read it under a tree during a soft summer rain!


Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me – by Mary Oliver

Last night
the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,

what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud, to be happy again

in a new way on the earth!
That’s what it said as it dropped,

smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches

and the grass below.
Then it was over.
The sky cleared.
I was standing

under a tree
with happy leaves,
and I was myself,

and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment
at which moment

my right hand was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars

and the soft rain –
imagine! imagine!
the wild and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.