Body temperature plays a crucial role in your health and well being.
Too cool and you are vulnerable to stress, insomnia, poor circulation, poor coordination (Have you ever tried to type or fish coins out of a purse when your fingers are cold?), and inability to concentrate.
Too warm and your body gets depleted of water, mineral salts and energy!
Our brain prefers to be cooler while our core or Lower Dahn-jon
likes it hot. Heat in our body core (the area around our navel or Lower Dahn-jon) assures plenty of blood flow to our limbs, a healthy digestive and reproductive system and a strong flow of Qi throughout our meridians.
It may sound counter intuitive, but when the heat's up, applying heat can cool you down.
Even when it's hot outside and we only want to feel cool, our digestive system needs heat in order to do its job efficiently no matter what the thermometer reads.
And one of the best ways to cool down your body in hot weather is to eat hot foods. According to Eastern Medicine summer has very strong Yang energy. Yang energy in the environment can draw Yang energy out of our body, leaving us exhausted.
To counteract Yang depletion in summer for example, Koreans traditionally drink hot nutritious soups such as chicken soup. Other hot regions such as Southeast Asia and India are known for their hot and spicy foods. Hot soup, curry and spicy peppers are a staple on menus in these regions because perspiration is the body's first line of defense in hot weather.
Keep in mind also that too much perspiration can cause undue stress on your metabolism. So, if you are already perspiring, consider adding some mildly cooling and hydrating foods
to hit that perfect body temperature balance. Foods that help cool and detoxify the body include avocado, cucumber, melons, mint, cilantro and parsley.
Also, as always, remember to keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water, preferably at room temperature.
Here is an exercise sequence, Jung-Choong Breathing, for keeping your core, and digestive organs, healthy and functioning at optimal level, throughout the seasons. It is the best method for staying cool in summer as it keeps your core energized and warm which, in turn, keeps your body temperature regulated despite the temperature of the external environment.
Jung means vital energy in Korean while Choong refers to fulfillment.
Jung-Choong breathing is actually a series of postures that are meant to align and unblock the body's two main energy meridians, helping to accumulate energy in the lower abdomen or Dahn-jon.
Begin this Jung-Choong Breathing sequence by lying on your back, legs straight and slightly apart, on the floor. Next, follow the sequence below.
1. Breathe naturally, relaxing your chest and upper body. Bring your legs together, squeezing tightly for a few seconds then completely relaxing them. Repeat a few times.
To find your Lower Dahn-jon, place your middle fingers very lightly two inches below your navel. Curl you tailbone gently upwards, letting your lower back touch the floor as much as possible.
Close your eyes and focus on the energy flowing throughout your body.
2. Next, accumulate this energy by lifting your legs off the floor, creating 90-degree angles between your hip joints, knees and ankles. The knees and ankles should both be about one fist-width apart.
Curl your tailbone in this posture by bringing your knees closer to your chest.
To flex your feet 90 degrees, pushing your heels out while relaxing your toes.
If it feels more natural, close your mouth and exhale through your nose. Otherwise, continue to exhale through your mouth.
3. Circulate this accumulated energy by firmly holding the front or sides of your feet. Slowly stretch and straighten both legs as best you can. Keep your head on the floor and your lower back as close to the floor as possible. Let your pelvis lift slightly.
Relax our chest and shoulders while pushing our your heels. This will fully stretch your Bladder and Kidney meridians.
Now, open the meridians that run along the front and back of your torso (Conception and Governor) with the following posture that is similar to the Hatha yoga plow pose.
Bring both legs completely over your head. Keep your heels pushed out as you stretch and straighten your knees.
Stretch out your arms above your head and hold your feet in order to promote energy circulation. Relax your shoulders as much as possible and feel the stretch along your spine.
4. Complete this circuit by lowering your legs to the floor and folding them in half or full lotus posture. Feel or hips open and spine stretch.
Place your middle fingers lightly on your Dahn-jon, feeling the energy accumulating once again.
Finally, breathe deeply into your lower abdomen, releasing any tension and relaxing completely.
You can put the finishing touch on this exercise by raising your arms and legs toward the ceiling then lightly shaking your hands and feet in the air.
Shake for 30 seconds and then let your limbs drop to the floor. Repeat three times.
This will release any residual tension and evenly distribute and circulate energy throughout your entire body.
Enjoy your summer months with these body balancing tips to keep you energized.
Here are some other tools to stay cool
in the summer.