This phrase has multiple meanings, some positive, some less so. When I was in college, “feel the burn” was associated with Jane Fonda and her famous donkey kicks on her old VCR fitness tapes. Now I am hearing clients and students tell me they “feel the burn” from a different point of view— on their skin, in their tummies, or as their anger rises.
Why does this message seem to change over the years? A likely reason is that we are so much more aware of what we eat, how we react and what we can offer ourselves than we were in 1984. Back then, I had no idea that my digestion might impact my thinking or skin. But after years of yoga practice, Ayurvedic school, and countless hours of self-investigation I can now easily recognize the symptoms of the heat in my body and how it can impact every cell, thought and action.
So what do you do when you feel the burn? Here are my top nine Chillax tips for the end of summer heat that seems to burn us up!
- Make friends with folks who nap. Yes, you should take a late afternoon nap for about 20 minutes every day to help you stop the momentum and re-charge your battery. For those who read this and say, “That is a waste of time,” this one is for you!
- Take a sunbath in the morning (before noon), in the Kapha time of day. It is lovely to be in the sun for a bit and soak up the vitamin D, but we don’t want to heat up too much. Often, because the air is more moist from the evening, this time of day will offer us greater ease in catching the rays than the late afternoon, when even the breeze can be hot!
- Try room temperature water with some cucumber and mint or watermelon to cool you down. It offers some alkaline qualities for digestive fire.
- In your morning water, switch that lemon to a lime and add a little honey to cool you down and sweeten you up while supporting the body’s natural cleansing system. (Go lymph go!)
- Practice Bhrami pranayama for a soft and calming experience for your mind. The subtle effect of this “buzzing breath” or “bumble bee breath” creates a gentle vibration that softens the sharp quality that heat can bring to our thoughts. Even one minute will have a softening effect.
- Snack on fresh fruit. Sure, ice cream is fun... but not to cool us off. Oddly, the cold quality in our body requires us to heat up our central channel and does not promote cooling. Fresh fruit is generally sweet (a natural cooling taste) but tends to be warm or room temperature, so when we eat it, the body won’t heat up to digest it.
- The same thing goes for iced tea (or any icy drink). Take your tea warm to promote sweating that will give the body a longer, cooling sensation. If you do not sweat, then perhaps you follow my mother, Sainted Ruthie’s rule, “Horses sweat, men perspire and women glow.”
- Smell the flowers! Jasmine, magnolia, chamomile, rose…all have sweet and cooling scents. Try adding some floral essential oil to your favorite abyhanga or nasya oil to bring in the sense of smell that will aid you and keep your mind cool with every breath.
- Head to nature! Watch the water, sit under the moon, get lost in the forest. Seeing the vastness of nature helps us expand and creates spaciousness in our minds. Heat tends to create a myopic quality, so looking at the horizon of the ocean or out over the canyon from the top of a mountain offers us a vantage point that cools our sense of urgency and reminds us that we are connected to this spacious and glorious nature both inside and out.
Ahhh, I feel calmer just writing this. I hope you’ll feel calmer too and feel the burn a little less.
To learn more about how to support your best self, book an Ayurveda consultation with The Body Agency.
Written by Kathryn Templeton, MA, RDT/ MT/LPC, E-500 RYT, C-IAYT. Kathryn is a certified Ayurvedic practitioner and member of our Body Board Member.