Cooling Summer Breath

Sitali Breath, Cooling BreathHeating up from the hot weather? My car said that it was 122 outside yesterday! I don’t think it officially hit that number but it was hot. Since it is hot all over I thought you might like to try this cooling summer breath called Sitali. It is both cooling and calming which is perfect for hot summer months. It is a great way to get yourself to chill out. Plus, this breath reminds us that we have more power and control over our bodies, our lives and ultimately our reactions to life, including the weather. Hooray! So cool! (Literally!)

Sitali Breath Benefits:
– cools the body
– adds moisture to the body
– reduces fatigue

Sitkari Breath is the name of the breath with the teeth touching.

Sitkari Breath Benefits:
– cools the body
– balances your hormones naturally
– increases vitality

These are best used during hot weather months or after a heated exercise practice.

The heat wave we are having here will have me practicing this breath every afternoon. Let me know if you have any questions. Stay cool and happy summer!

5 Tips for Staying Merry and Bright this Holiday Season

holiday self care techniquesWhichever holidays you celebrate, this time of year is likely to be brimming with commitments: entertaining, traveling, shopping, and celebrating. With the flurry of activities and demands on your time, self-care can often seem less important than looking after others, planning, hosting and attending events, and keeping up with all of the holiday chores. While you may feel energetically overextended, incorporating some of the tips below will actually do wonders for your mind and body, helping you stay calm, positive and healthy this holiday season.

  1. Take mindfulness breaks. This takes no extra time, just a shift of awareness during your day. While folding laundry, slow down just enough to notice the softness of the fabric and the fresh, clean smell. Making coffee in the morning can become a ritual where you engage all of your senses: hear the beans grinding, inhale the rich scent of your brew, feel the warm mug in your hands, watch the cream blend into the coffee, and taste the delicious morning drink. Instilling a greater awareness in these seemingly mundane moments can fill you with gratitude for the simple pleasures in life and make you more aware of your actions throughout the day.
  2. Give (and accept!) hugs. A 2014 study led by Dr. Sheldon Cohen at Carnegie Mellon University showed that people who gave and received frequent hugs had stronger immune systems, experiencing fewer illnesses and recovering more quickly from sickness than study participants who hugged infrequently. Hugging not only makes you feel better right away, it also keeps you healthy in the long term!
  3. Breathe. You already do this all day, so why not incorporate it into your self-care routine? Taking a minute or two to pay attention to your breathing, and shift to slow and full breaths can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, reduce anxiety and stress, and improve your mood. Next time you’re waiting in line or stuck in holiday traffic, try passing the time with a few long inhales and exhales to calm you down and reset your focus.
  4. Go outside. Even 5 minutes in the outdoors can do wonders for your well-being. If you live somewhere with mild winter weather, maybe a walk around the block is the perfect prescription for holiday stress relief. If you’re in a more wintery climate, bundle up and build a snowman, mindfully shovel the walkway, or practice a few warming standing yoga poses. A little exercise and fresh air can equal a big perspective shift.
  5. Take some time for yourself. With all of the expectations and events to fit in the schedule this time of year, spending time alone may often seem impossible. Consider small “self-care sessions” like 5 minutes of meditation, a stop by the park on the way home, or a hot bath. Short solo spells can remind you of your worth and allow time for reflection. After even a 5- or 10-minute break, you may be amazed at how centered you feel, and how much you appreciate time with others.

Many of these tips can be combined for maximum merriness! Go outside by yourself, breathe deeply and practice mindfully observing nature. When you return home, hug your loved ones and commit to having a healthy, happy, and connected holiday season.

guest post, yoga, holiday self-care

Rachel Durben lives in Truckee, CA, and has been practicing yoga for since 2000. She began her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program through Wanderlust at the 2014 Squaw Valley festival immersion, and completed the training in Costa Rica. She brings mindfulness and asana practice to her work in environmental education and ecological research, and loves sharing these tools with students of all ages. Rachel teaches yoga at the Tahoe Yoga and Wellness Center and enjoys guiding students towards their own truth and providing them with the tools to find stillness in the midst of our busy lives.