How do I cool down my mind?

Posted by Jade Garratt

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Jade is a yoga teacher, blogger and health and wellness geek. Her mission is to share the happiness that yoga has brought into her life. Full Bio
Q:

How do I cool down my mind?

A:

Have you ever been described as hot-headed? This can be a really good thing, at times. Having fire and passion at the right times can help you to express yourself, to change things and to get things done. But there are times when you might need to take a step back, turn the temperature down and cool your mind a little.

How do you do that? Well, yoga and meditation are a great place to start, but it is worth fine-tuning your practice in order to make sure you maximize the mind-cooling benefits. Here are a few pointers to get you started:

Practice Some Cooling Pranayama

Sitali breath is the yogic breathing practice that yogis traditionally believe cools the body and the mind. Even if you’re not convinced by this, the soothing effects of the controlled and careful breathing will help your agitated mind to relax. To perform sitali breath, stick your tongue out a little and curl the edges of it toward the midline, so it forms a shape like a straw. Sip your breath in through this straw, then draw your tongue back in, close your mouth and retain your breath for as long as you feel comfortable. You can also take your chin to your chest as you hold the breath here. Then when you feel the urge to breathe out, release your chin and exhale slowly through your nose. Repeat for five to 10 rounds, or until you feel suitably chilled.

Choose Your Class Carefully

Hot yoga can be fantastic - invigorating, energizing and sweaty - but if you’re looking to cool off, it’s not ideal. Consider something altogether more calming. Yin yoga is the classic “cool yoga.” All those lovely long holds give your body and mind a chance to simmer down a little. (Read more about The Benefits of Yin Yoga.)

Adopt Cooling Yoga Postures

This is not the time for Sun Salutations and handstands. Backbends tend to be energizing and uplifting, and twists are often quite warming. Instead, some gentle balance postures, such as tree pose can help to steady your mind. Calming forward bends such as balancing bound angle pose can also be a great way to release physical and mental tension. Remember to keep your approach soft and gentle - you want to cool and calm, not strive and overheat again.

If all else fails, lying in legs-up-the-wall pose for five minutes and taking slow, mindful breaths is my fail-safe way to cool and calm my body and mind. Consciously scan through your body and mind, letting go of anything you’re holding on to and allowing yourself to relax. (Learn more in Discovering Yourself Through a Body Scan Meditation.)

Happy chilling, yogis!

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