Yes, I know that this phrase has multiple meanings, even more with the election season in process. When I was in college this phrase was associated with Jane Fonda and her famous “donkey kicks” on the aerobic fitness videotapes! I used to put on my spandex, headband, and leg warmers and set up my TV so I could move with Jane and hear her tell me, “Can you feel it, can you feel it, can you feel it? Feel the burn!” Now I am hearing clients and students tell me they “feel the burn” from a different point of view—on the skin, in their tummies, or as anger rising!
Why is this message changing? We are so much more aware of what we eat, how we react, and what we can offer ourselves. In 1984, I had no idea that my digestion might impact my thinking or my skin. After years of yoga practice, Ayurvedic school, and lots of 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 to do when you feel the burn? Here is my top ten chillax tips for the end of summer heat that seems to burn us up!
- Make friends with folks who nap. Yes, take a late afternoon nap for about twenty minutes to help you stop the momentum and recharge your battery! Especially for those who read this and say, “That is a waste of time”. . .this one is for you!
- Sunbathe during the kapha time of day—in the morning before noon. 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 the air is more moist from the night, so this time of day will offer us greater ease in catching the rays, compafred to the late afternoon, when even the breeze is hot!
- Try room temperature water with some cucumber and mint, or fresh watermelon to cool you down and offer some alkaline qualities to your digestive fire.
- Switch that lemon to a lime in your morning water, and add a little honey to cool you down and sweeten you up while supporting the body’s natural cleansing system to do its thing. (GO, lymph, GO!)
- Practice Bhramari pranayama for a soft and calming experience for your mind. The subtle effect of this “buzzing breath,” or “humming bee” breath, creates a gentle vibration that softens the sharp quality that excess heat can bring to our thoughts. Even one minute will have a softening effect.
- Snack on fresh fruit. Yep, ice cream is fun. . .but not to cool us off! Oddly, the cold quality in our body requires us to heat up in our central channel and does not promote cooling. Fresh fruit is generally sweet (a natural cooling taste) and is generally warm or room temperature, so when we eat it the body doesn't need to heat up to digest!!
- Same thing for ice in tea (or in any drinks) vs. taking your tea warm to promote sweating, which will give the body a longer cooling sensation! If you do not sweat, then perhaps you follow my mother’s (Sainted Ruthie) 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 abhyanga to bring the sense of smell to your aid and keep your mind cool with every breath.
- 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 a 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. #LoveYoSelf