By Josiah Groth
Here is a 10-minute cool down to achieve an efficient release of heat from the body in a short period of time. When we push ourselves physically, it is important to balance those stresses effectively to maintain long-term vitality. The following three practices, when combined, will synergistically work to physically balance your temperature, rehydrate you, calm your mind, and refresh your body.
A proper drink
I suggest room temperature, cucumber-infused water. It is easy to make, and by the time you throw two or three slices of cucumber into a glass of water and get to a chair, the benefits are already accumulating. Cucumbers provide some vitamins and electrolytes, but the main reason I choose to use them is because of their energetic cooling properties.
When you are in need of electrolyte replenishment in particular, such as in the middle of a very physical afternoon’s work, squeeze a quarter of a lemon into the cucumber water and add a small pinch of salt.
Why room temperature? While ice cold water is definitely cooler physically, the drastic temperature difference shocks the system at the organ level. Prolonged drinking of ice cold beverages causes excess energy loss due to our bodies responses to the large temperature difference.
Clothing and shade matter
While we are outside, hats protect us from the sun’s rays and help us sweat, but when resting, both the head and the feet are a body’s two best ways of releasing heat. Take those shoes, socks, and hats off while you rest. This means finding a shady spot or going indoors for a bit. What you are looking for is a relatively quiet space where you can rest, sip your cucumber water, and indulge in a breathing practice to maximize your cool down.
Shitali kriya, a cooling breath practice
Shitali kriya is a cooling and cleansing breath practice that even children can do, provided they can roll their tongues. The practice focuses the mind and removes any distractions that keep the body tense. By taking advantage of the cooling effects of evaporation, you can create a breath pattern that allows heat to escape from the blood via the tongue during exhalation.
It goes like this. Focus your mind on creating an even breath pattern where your inhalation is the same length as your exhalation. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. As you breathe out, curl your tongue into a long tube to maximize the amount of air flow over the tongue and, thus, maximize the amount of evaporation. Take five full minutes to practice shitali kriya as you sit. Sip water if your mouth gets too dry. The focus on your breathing will help calm your mind and allow your muscles to deeply rest.
Josiah Groth is the owner of Back to Bliss Wellness. More information on his practice is available at backtoblisswellness.com.