Yoga to release heat from the body
Just because the weather is becoming cooler … it doesn’t mean the heat has completely left our bodies. The transition from summer (Pitta season) to fall (Vata season) takes some intentional work. It needs working on our diet and lifestyle while honoring the change in seasons.
A client recently said that she felt sudden bursts of anger even when unprovoked. There were also eruptions on her skin. She has been feeling intense, depleted, and “burned out” for a while now. October might mean fall colors, good hair days, cooler weather, and crisp air … that doesn’t mean you feel the same way internally. For this client, she feels the fire and passion of summer.
Quick review of Pitta and Vata Dosha
While Pitta Dosha is made up of fire and water elements, Vata Dosha is comprised of ether and air elements. Each of these doshas have their own qualities or gunas. The main qualities of pitta are oily, sharp, hot, light, fleshy smelling, spreading, and liquid. Attributes of Vata Dosha are dry, light, cold, rough, subtle, mobile, and clear. Depending on the dominant dosha (whether Pitta-predominant or Vata-predominant) means that these qualities express themselves generously throughout your mental, emotional, and physical make up.
Why was my client feeling so heated up?
Today, most of us don’t live in alignment with nature. Ayurveda teaches us that doshas and seasons are deeply nnected. Depending on the season, each dosha is accumulated, aggravated, and pacified naturally. But those whose don’t follow the seasonal guidelines, the doshas don’t settle and their health is wrecked.
For numerous reasons, my client couldn’t transition from one season to another intentionally and healthily. Summer was all about active outdoorsy days, barbecues, connecting with friends and family, and being out in the sun drinking wine and beer, and pushing herself out of her comfort zone. As soon as fall deadlines hit her, she acted on them without addressing the intensity of summer. As a result, not all the Pitta was released from her body. If we aren’t mindful of our diet and lifestyle … heat gets trapped and will show up in the mind, digestion, skin, sleep, and the body overall. Remember the agitation and skin issues she talks about? It could also show up as stomach troubles, inflammation, disturbed sleep, intermittent wakefulness, and more.
How do you release heat from the body
To balance excess pitta, we need to bring opposing gunas into our life: cool, dry, dull, soft, and dark. Of course, Ayurvedic diet and herbs help. Eating for your dosha and using Pitta-pacifying spices and herbs can be extremely useful in lowering the heat. But I want to remind you that it’s not just your diet that should change with seasons but also your yoga and pranayama practices. about the power of integrating Pitta-pacifying yoga in your life. Integrating these gunas into your practice can balance the fiery energy of pitta, Ayurveda reminds us. It is best to have an overall intention to move more slowly, with ease and self-compassion.
Yoga Guidelines to release heat from the body
(1) Practice plenty twists and side bends body as they release Pitta and toxins. (For example, Seated Side Bend Pose, Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, Revolved Chair, Side Angle, and Revolved Side Angle).
(2) No need to rush, so practice at a moderate pace.
(3) Your gaze should be soft and downward as Ayurveda teaches is this is cooling.
(4) The place where you practice asanas should be both cool temperature and spacious.
(5) Learn to have fun in your yoga practice and don’t outdo yourself.
(6) Remind yourself that yoga is a work-in and not a competition about how bendy you are on the mat.
(7) Focus on exhalation.
(8) The main sites for pitta dosha in the body are the small intestine, liver, and navel area, so pay attention to those areas. Backbends on the belly (e.g. Cobra Pose, Locust Pose, and Bow Pose) are great for releasing heat and tension.
(9) Don’t hold headstands for too long as the heat that goes to the head can aggravate Pitta.
Cooling pranayama (breathwork) is also a fantastic way to release heat from the body. Sitali (cooling breath) and Sitkari (hissing breath) effective pranayama for pacifying Pitta. Chandra Bhedana (Left nostril yogic breathing) helps lower agitation and overwhelm. Kapalabhati (Skull shining breath) focuses on exhalation, rejuvenates the mind and body, and improves digestion.