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Yoga

Bikram Yoga: Benefits And Harm Of Hot Yoga Classes

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Have you heard about Bikram yoga? This yoga style is becoming more and more popular. Many practitioners find it very effective for creating a balance between the body and mind. In this article, we will share with you what Bikram yoga is, and what its advantages and disadvantages are. We hope that after reading this article, you’ll be able to personally determine for yourself whether hot yoga classes suit you or not.

What Is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram yoga is a complex of certain asanas that are performed in a hot room. This type of yoga got its name from its founder Bikram Choudhury.

Initially, this kind of yoga was used by Bikram as a recovery after an injury. He was performing yoga asanas in a heated room. After a full recovery, he has perfected asanas and suggested practicing them in the room with a hot temperature.

The initial class of Bikram yoga includes:

  • 2 breathing exercises;
  • 26 consecutive Hatha yoga asanas.

Bikram yoga classes are practiced in a room heated to 105 °F with a humidity of 40%. The duration of the lesson is 1.5 hours.

Due to the complexity of such “hot” exercises the whole body strengthens. Each posture of the asana flows smoothly into the next asana, thus increasing the flow of oxygen, through which toxins are removed from the body.

Bikram yoga is known for its martial style of teaching, the concentration of energy and impeccable posture. It is one of the most popular styles of hot yoga that is practiced all over the world. It should draw the attention of those people who prefer strict, disciplined practice, which controls everything – starting with breathing and ending with the opportunity to drink water.

History

Bikram Choudhury image

Bikram Choudhury was born in Calcutta in 1944. At age four he already began practicing yoga.  When he was 13 years old, Bikram received the title of national champion of India in yoga. At the age of 17, Bikram Choudhury severely injured his knee. Doctors said that he will never be able to walk independently.

But the young champion did not despair and under the guidance of his mentor, he began to perform asanas in a certain sequence, aimed at full recovery of the injured part of his body. A distinctive feature of this complex of asanas was that the room (where yoga was practiced) was very hot. This was essential in order to effectively work on the injured knee, and in order not to further damage. The result of hard training was a fully restored knee.

Bikram Choudhury reasonably believes that Hatha yoga brings the most positive results in conjunction with the hot climate of India. Naturally, not everyone has the opportunity to practice Bikram yoga in a hot climate. Therefore he suggested creating appropriate temperature regime artificially. In this case, we can practice hot yoga in any country, even in the North.

As a result of refinement and improvement of the sequence of asanas, Bikram Choudhury created his own unique style of Hatha yoga, which is now known as Bikram yoga.

Bikram Yoga Vs. Hot Yoga: What’s The Difference?

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Many people think that Bikram and hot yoga are the same thing but these two styles still have differences.

So what’s the difference between Bikram Yoga and Hot Yoga?

1. Temperature

Bikram yoga studios must be heated to 105°F with 40% humidity.

Hot yoga rooms can vary in humidity and are generally heated to anywhere from 80 to 100°F.

2. Duration of the Class

The duration of the Bikram yoga class is always 90 mins.

Hot yoga classes can last anywhere from 60 to 90 mins.

3. Music

Music or clapping are not allowed during Bikram yoga classes.

Hot yoga classes often have music playing during the class and even can be followed by a round of applause.

4. Asanas Variations

Camel pose image

Bikram yoga includes the same 26 asanas and two breathing exercises. All the asanas and breathing exercises are performed in the same order every class.

Hot yoga can include many different asanas that may vary by class or/and studio.

5. Floors

The floors of Bikram yoga studios must be carpeted.

In Hot yoga studios, the floors are usually made of any type of artificial wood or any other material.

6. Lighting

There must be bright lighting in the Bikram yoga studios.

Hot yoga classes are often performed with dim lights or even by candlelight.

7. Talking During the Class

yoga studio image

It is not allowed to talk during a Bikram yoga class.

During a Hot yoga class, the students can interact with each other and with the yoga instructor.

It is difficult to say which one of these two styles is better. Everything is absolutely individual. Someone may be uncomfortable to practice yoga in a room heated to 105°F, and someone, on the contrary, will appreciate this temperature and find it easier to relax. There are such studios that conduct Bikram yoga classes in a very warm room, but only 60 minutes instead of 90 minutes and in a more relaxed mode.

Or, for example, you may not like to practice yoga on a carpeted floor and will appreciate the wooden floors more that regular hot yoga studios hold classes on.

So it’s completely up to you! Ask yourself which type of yoga will suit you better!

Bikram Yoga Postures And Their Benefits

During Bikram yoga class, a complex of 26 postures is performed in a strictly defined sequence. It is very important to perform these postures to the end and repeat each of them twice. As a result of each such practice, the vital energy (prana) circulates in your body harmoniously, and the organs are exposed to beneficial effects.

Bikram Yoga complex includes the following postures:

1. Pranayama (breathing practice)

This posture is aimed at relieving fatigue, relaxation and at the same time concentration on the upcoming yoga practice.

2. Half Moon Pose (ARDHA-CHANDRASANA)

This asana relaxes and gradually stretches the muscles of the whole body, preparing you to perform basic postures.

3. Awkward Pose (UTKATASANA)

This pose helps to tone and shape your legs, heals chronically cold feet, helps relieve rheumatism and arthritis in the legs, helps to cure slipped discs and other lower spine problems.

4. Eagle Pose (GARURASANA)

This pose is aimed at the development of coordination. This is due to the fact that some muscles of the body tense up, while others relax. As a result of performing this asana, pain in the back and joints goes away, the muscles of the legs come to tone, the blood flow improves.

5. Standing Head To Knee (DANDAYAMANA-JANUSHIRASANA)

Stretches the leg muscles and gluteal muscles, blood circulation in the brain becomes noticeably better, and the blood pressure returns to normal.

6. Standing Bow (DANDAYAMANA-DHANURASANA)

This asana is aimed at developing a sense of stability, discipline and emotional inner harmony and balance. In physical terms, there is a relaxation of the back and strengthening the muscles of the legs.

7. Balancing Stick (TULADANDASANA)

This asana has a moderate load on the heart, stimulates its intensive work and the release of blood. Thereby this posture helps clear the vessels and increases the activity of the brain. This asana is an excellent prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

This asana is aimed at stretching the muscles of the back and strengthening the blood flow to the joints. It also massages the internal abdominal organs, the small and large intestines.

9. Triangle Pose (TRIKANASANA)

This asana is aimed at the simultaneous study of all the muscles of the body and enhances metabolism. This pose is extremely beneficial for women with a broken menstrual cycle. It also benefits the heart and lungs.

10. Standing Separate Head to Knee Pose (DANDAYAMANA-BIBHAKTAPADA-JANUSHIRASANA)

This pose stimulates the work of all the glands of our body, especially the thyroid gland. It also helps to heal reproductive system disorders and frequent chronic migraines.

11. Tree Pose (TADASANA)

This asana aimed at stretching the spine and strengthening the muscles of the back. It improves your posture and reduces tension in the abdomen.

12. Toe Stand (PADANGUSTASANA)

This pose aimed at developing balance and strengthening willpower, as well as stretching the muscles of the legs.

13. Dead Body (SAVASANA)

This asana relaxes every single muscle of your body. As a result, the movement of blood and lymph comes back to normal. Moreover, the internal cleansing happens and we learn to relax.

14. Wind-Removing Pose (PAVANAMUKTASANA)

This pose massages the organs inside the body in a natural way which is especially beneficial for the digestive system.

15. Sit Up (PADA-HASTHASANA)

This asana clears the lungs of the air that has stagnated there. Also, it stretches the spine and increases flexibility.

16. Cobra (BHUJANGASANA)

During the performing of this asana, your arms are strengthened and your back muscles become more flexible. Thus there is a prevention of diseases in the lumbar region, such as, for example, arthritis. This asana increases the performance of the liver and spleen, and blood pressure returns to normal.

17. Locust Pose (SALABHASANA)

Great pose for those who have a pinched sciatic nerve or displaced vertebrae. Practicing Locust Pose is an excellent prevention of varicose veins.

18. Full Locust Pose (POORNA-SALABHASANA)

This pose increases strength in the middle spine and the rib cage elasticity. Also, it firms the abdominal muscles, upper arms, and hips.

19. Bow Pose (DHANURASANA)

This asana increases spine flexibility. It aids digestion, fights constipation, combats bronchitis and diabetes. This pose improves the functioning of the large and small intestines, the liver, kidneys, and spleen.

20. Fixed Firm Pose (SUPTA-VAJRASANA)

While performing this asana you are stretching your spinal muscles and the muscles of your ankles, resulting in visibly tightened thighs and belly. In addition, this asana is the prevention of diseases such as gout and varicose veins.

21. Half Tortoise (ARDHA-KURMASANA)

This asana improves sleep, helps to get rid of frequent migraines, improve memory and normalize blood circulation of the brain, as well as prolong your life.

22. Camel Pose (USTRASANA)

This pose helps to stretch the back muscles. It also improves the flexibility of your neck and spine and helps degenerative spinal problems. This asana helps constipation, stretches the throat, thyroid and parathyroid glands.

23. Rabbit Pose (USTRASANA)

This pose helps to reduce tension in the shoulders and neck. Is also helps alleviate colds, sinus problems, and chronic tonsillitis.

24. Head to Knee Pose and Stretching Pose (JANUSHIRASANA AND PASCHIMOTTHANASANA)

This asana is very beneficial for immune and lymphatic systems, allergies and arthritis. It increases circulation to the liver, pancreas, thyroid, thymus, and intestines. Also, performing this pose improves digestion.

25. Spine-Twisting Pose (ARDHA-MATSYENDRASANA)

Performing this twisting asana increases circulation to all the spinal nerves, veins, and tissues, and improves the elasticity of the spine. It relieves lower back pain and helps prevent slipped discs, kyphosis, scoliosis, cervical spondylosis, and arthritis.

26. Blowing In Firm Pose (KAPALBHATI IN VAJRASANA)

This pose improves digestion and circulation and increases the elasticity of the lungs.

Bikram Yoga Benefits

The successful outcome of Bikram yoga practice entirely depends on you. Regular classes and your devotion to the practice will soon bring positive effects.

Bikram yoga benefits image

The benefits of Bikram yoga are:

  • provokes active burning of calories;
  • helps to lose weight quickly, get rid of cellulite and bring your body into good shape;
  • cleanses your body of toxins;
  • your body gains great flexibility;
  • strengthens the cardiovascular and respiratory system;
  • helps to quickly recover from injuries of varying severity;
  • improves metabolism;
  • helps to relax after a hard day and put in order your nervous system;
  • improves sleep quality;
  • helps relieve stress (regular practice helps reduce cortisol levels);
  • improves skin quality (helps get rid of acne and enlarged pores);
  • all muscles come in tone;
  • reduces depression;
  • makes you more disciplined;
  • helps to find inner balance and harmony with the outside world;
  • increases immunity and it becomes easier for your body to fight infections and viruses;
  • relieves mental stress and relaxes you.

Can Bikram Yoga Harm You?

Before choosing to attend Bikram or Hot yoga class you should be aware of the harm that this kind of yoga can cause.

There is a number of disadvantages that you may face during your hot yoga class.

1. A danger of excessive stretching

It may be hard to believe but if you have already good flexibility, then Bikram yoga can provoke muscle tension. The thing is the heat weakens the muscles and you may be in danger of excessive stretching.

2. A danger of dehydration

Practicing yoga in a hot room can naturally lower internal body temperature and provoke dehydration. Moreover, there is a significantly increased risk of heat exhaustion and even heat stroke. Symptoms of exhaustion include weakness, dizziness, and quite severe nausea, so if you encounter them, it is important to stop your yoga practice immediately and leave the class.

man drinking water during yoga class image

3. A danger of the kidney load increase

When we’re hot and stuffy, we’re thirsty. It’s a natural process. In the conditions of Bikram yoga, there is heavy sweating and, of course, we want to drink twice as much. This means that the load on the kidneys increases.

Сontraindications of Bikram Yoga Practice

Since Bikram yoga is being practiced in a hot room there are some contraindications that can be temporary and permanent.

Permanent contraindications include:

  • vascular problems;
  • varicose veins;
  • heart disease;
  • hypertension;
  • tachycardia;
  • weak mitral and aortic valve function;
  • lung diseases;
  • kidneys diseases;
  • prostatitis;
  • arthrosis;
  • gallstone disease;
  • gynecological diseases;
  • diabetes;
  • asthma;
  • brain diseases.

Temporary contraindications include:

  • pregnancy;
  • period of gynecological inflammation and menstruation;
  • catarrhal diseases;
  • fever;
  • sinusitis.

What to Expect from Bikram Yoga Class?

Yoga Classes Image

If you decided to attend Bikram yoga class then you may have a reasonable question – what to expect? It is natural to feel nervous if you come to Bikram yoga studio for the first time. It’s okay if you are not as successful in your yoga practice as others during the first few classes. Everyone’s been through this.

Let us share with you some tips for those of you who are going to attend your first Bikram yoga class:

  • Come to the studio 15 minutes before your class starts.
  • Be sure to warn the instructor about the presence of any chronic diseases and medical restrictions.
  • Be sure to have an empty stomach. Start training about 2 hours after you have eaten.
  • Do not drink too much water before and during yoga class. It is allowed to moisten the throat and take a few sips. A full stomach is contraindicated when performing asanas!
  • Visit the restroom before the class, as it is not recommended to interrupt the practice.
  • Most studios categorically prohibit the use of a cell phone, so we advise you to completely turn it off and take the time to enjoy yoga.
  • Try to breathe slowly and deeply, it will help to relax all the muscles and get used to the room temperature.
  • Breathe only through the nose, because breathing through the mouth dries the mucosa and excites the nervous system.
  • Be prepared for the fact that during classes you will sweat a lot. Most hot yoga studios artificially increase humidity, so you’ll sweat even in places where you had no idea you had sweat glands (hello, a sweaty inner side of the elbow).
  • Try not to wipe the sweat flowing from you in streams, so you give the body a signal to release even more liquid to cool the hot body.
  • Your heart may start to beat faster, but if you don’t have a problem with that, that’s fine. You need to stay calm and focus on your reflection in the mirror. If, however, you are alerted, and you start to panic, lie down on the mat and take a short break.
  • If you have any unpleasant feelings during your yoga practice, focus on your reflection in the mirror, it will return you to the comfort zone.
  • Listen to your body. If you feel bad (dizzy, nauseous, etc.) during yoga class, the only right decision is to get up and leave. Do not try to break through the weakness, so as not to harm yourself.
  • Improve the result gradually. If you have just started practicing hot yoga, it is not necessary to do the exercises in full force. As in the case of any other workout, your body should get used to the peculiarities of the load. Therefore, start small and boldly move forward.
  • After yoga class, you will have a feeling that you are ready to conquer the whole world (of course, after a long shower). This is the pleasant aftertaste of yoga.

Conclusion

We want to note once again that not everyone can practice this kind of yoga. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you consult with your doctor for contraindications. In addition, it must be remembered that the hot conditions of the hot yoga classes may initially seem unbearably difficult to handle. Therefore, you should determine your level of endurance, so not to pass out during the practice.

Summing up, once again we note that Bikram yoga, despite its ambiguity, is an effective tool that allows you to cleanse your body, tighten sagging skin, develop flexibility, form a posture, delve into your feelings and fully master the management of your body.

We hope that after reading this article, you are now able to decide whether this type of yoga is suitable for you or not. Remember that yoga is not a competition, and the approach to choosing a yoga style for practice should be based on individual feelings, needs, and indications.


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Demystifying Aerial Yoga: The New Yoga Trend

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Aerial yoga has become one of the most Instagrammable wellness trends. This new concept that is quickly becoming popular amongst devoted yogis and beginners alike. What does it mean? What is in store for you, especially when you are self-isolating due to a global pandemic? And which basic exercises can you use for your practice? But first, let us understand this practice.

The History

Aerial yoga dates back to 1991 in New York. Christopher Harrison, a Broadway choreographer and former gymnast came up with the practice. At that time, all he wanted were aerial moves that a group of gymnastic athletes could do when they retired from the competition. However, its success made the practice a hit and spread nationwide.

Today, you can enjoy a fulfilling aerial yoga session at any Crunch gyms for barre practice. Or, enroll for Unnata Aerial Yoga in various studios nationwide. And, if you prefer the privacy of your home, get a hammock and workout videos, and you can start your aerial yoga exercises at home.

What Is Aerial Yoga?

Aerial Yoga Image

Aerial yoga is a hybrid type of yoga that combines traditional yoga poses, Pilates, and dance with the use of a hammock.

Aerial yoga involves using a sling-like hammock made of a silky fabric and hanging from the ceiling. This hammock will support your full body weight as you engage in various poses, using the sling as your assistant. Think of doing headstands, pushups, back-flips, swings, and triceps dips while suspended in the air.

If you are steady, expect to crush your in-shape goals in no time. The yoga is so powerful; trainers describe it as a moderate-intense workout. Hence, it can borrow from ballet, HIIT, and Pilates, to feature in an athletic curriculum for such sports.  Notably, a study by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) on women doing aerial yoga found that doing three, 50-minute aerial yoga sessions a week for six weeks can: –

  • Help cut weight by 2.5 pounds on average
  • Reduce body fat by 2%
  • Trim the waist by 1 inch
  • Raise the VO2 max by 11%

Aerial Yoga Benefits

Aerial fitness Image

Despite starting as a high-end workout for the elite in New York, aerial yoga is now easy for anyone to practice. All you need is a hammock and the urge to grow your fitness level. This routine offers the following unique benefits for each participant: –

#1: Burns Fat

Besides the known scientific proof of how aerial yoga can help the participants to lose weight, this yoga has a significant effect on your body fat. The activities you engage in offer a full-body workout for cardio and strength training. Hence, at the end of an hour’s practice, the participant will have engaged every muscle in their body.

#2: Boost Fitness Level

There are at least ten parameters you check when gauging your fitness level. These are: –

  • The plank exercise – Measures the strength and stability of your core
  • The head-turning activity – Checks for neck flexibility
  • The vertical jump test – How high can you jump?
  • Push-ups – Checks for your upper body strength
  • Wall sits – Checks for leg muscle strength and endurance
  • Loop the loop – Confirms posture and shoulder movements
  • Waist to hip ratio – Measures fat concentration around the waist in comparison to the hip area
  • 12-minute run or walk – Measures cardiovascular fitness
  • Resting heart rate – Indicates the robustness of the cardiovascular system-
  • Wet footprint test – Checks for pronation and supination

Aerial yoga can help you complete all the fitness goals as per the above parameters. For example, the training assists you to connect to your core, similar to doing planks. And, when you work out on gravity, you free the tension in the joints and also correct your posture and flexibility.

#3: Beginner-Friendly

Antigravity for beginners image

Christopher Harrison’s gain in using aerial yoga for the first time shows that for sure, anyone can do it. You don’t need any prior training, any specialist sportswear, or any fancy gear to get your body back in shape.

#4: Makes Tough Workouts Fun

Are you practicing for your acrobat’s competitions? Well, your one-hour long session of aerial yoga will be a fun experience, because, this yoga makes it seamless to learn new gymnastic tricks. And, if you are training for your ballet, you can also perform many stunts with little help from the barre. Likewise, if you never used to enjoy your workouts, with aerial yoga, you will be looking forward to your next training session each time.

#5: Excellent for the Abs and Cardio

Aerial yoga is excellent for achieving that ripped stomach you always wanted. Its off-the-ground moves will engage your core, improve your stability, and curve that six-pack abs for a boost in self-confidence. Similarly, any lady struggling with excessive weight in the upper body will experience strengthening of the upper body in about six weeks. In this time, they will notice more defined shoulders and arms. This way, ladies can sculpt and firm the body they always wanted.

#6: Assists in Mastering Yoga Mat Poses

Silk wraps used in aerial yoga offer excellent support for various yoga poses. The wraps give you a feel of how you should turn when on the mat. Similarly, if you struggle with inversions or any other back-breaking poses, opt for the aerial yoga to master such mat poses.

Tips for Practicing Aerial Yoga at Home

aerial hammock image

Now that you have an idea of what to expect from aerial yoga, here are some tips to get you started: –

  • Practice it with an open mind. Allow yourself to explore your body and enjoy the experience.
  • Hydrate your body before practice. Avoid overindulging in alcohol or food. You don’t want to hang upside down, swing, or move up and down with a full stomach.
  • Wear tight-fitting, comfortable clothes to minimize friction. Shorts should reach below the knee. Avoid tops that are too revealing as they can get uncomfortable when doing your flips.
  • Enhance your safety by removing all jewelry before starting your session. Hair clips, piercings, or rings may get caught up in the hammock and cause an accident.
  • If training as a group, use mild perfume on your body.

Conclusion

Aerial yoga is ideal for everyone, including persons living with a disability, nursing an injury, or struggling with obesity. You can start by enlisting at a local studio. Find out about the studio’s policy and prepare well. Then, continue the practice in the comfort of your home. Or better still, watch videos from yoga gurus to learn and start practicing at home.


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The Essence And Benefits Of Sheetkari Pranayama

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Sheetkari pranayama is a breathing practice that cools the body and reduces thirst. Therefore, performing this pranayama will be especially beneficial during hot summer days when you want to naturally restore body temperature, protect it from overheating and dehydration. In this article, I will share with you the essence and benefits of Sheetkari pranayama and will give you step-by-step instructions for this practice.

What Is Pranayama?

Pranayama is a system of breathing exercises that can significantly increase your energy level and provide many different health benefits.

Prana‘ is the Sanskrit word for breath, “life force”, or “vital principle”. ‘Ayāma‘ can be translated as “the suspension of breath” or “control”. Thus, “pranayama” can be translated as “control over vital energy”.

According to Patanjali, pranayama is the length of time between inhalation and exhalation. During this period, the time of assimilation of prana increases, the fluctuations of the mind decrease and the perception expands. During pranayama practice, the nerve impulses in some parts of the body are suspended, and the structure of brain waves is harmonized. Therefore, pranayama is one of the most important elements of Hatha yoga.

What Is Sheetkari Pranayama?

Sheetkari pranayama is a yogic breathing practice that calms the mind and cools the body. The sound “shee” or “sheet” is made during inhalation in this practice. The Sanskrit word kari means ‘that which produces’. Therefore Sheetkari can be translated as the “Pranayama that produces that sound ‘shee’”. In English, the practice is usually called ‘the hissing breath’ or ‘the cooling breath’.

Sheetkari pranayama is a variation of the Sheetali Pranayama. In Sheetkari pranayama, the tongue is not rolled into a tube; instead, it is rolled up to touch the upper palate. The teeth are then clenched and the lips are kept apart. Those who find it difficult to perform Sheetali Pranayama can easily practice Sheetkari pranayama and get similar benefits.

Sheetkari Pranayama is usually performed after practicing other asanas and pranayamas.

Benefits Of Sheetkari Pranayama

hissing breath pranayama image

Sheetkari Pranayama has many benefits. Here are some of them:

  • Calms the nervous system;
  • Purifies the blood;
  • Treats diseases of the tongue, mouth, throat, and nose;
  • Normalizes high blood pressure;
  • Treats diseases of the liver;
  • Normalizes body temperature;
  • Relieves sleepiness and laziness;
  • Energizes;
  • Stimulates body functions to digest, move, and eliminate the food (improves digestion);
  • Improves the health of teeth and gums;
  • Cures fevers, enlarged spleen, colic, and disorders of the bile;
  • Eliminates the feeling of hunger and thirst;
  • Increases mental capacity;
  • Supports mental health;
  • Reduces anxiety;
  • Cools and relaxes the entire body and mind;
  • Balances Pitta dosha (heat) and neutralizes Kapha and Vata doshas.

Contra-Indications of Sheetkari Pranayama

Keep in mind the following precautions before you get started:

  1. In this practice, breathing occurs through the mouth, so the air does not have time to heat up and clear. In order not to provoke bronchitis and angina, do not perform this pranayama in the cold season and in a room with polluted air.
  2. Sitkari pranayama reduces the amount of heat produced by the excretory organs. Therefore, this pranayama is not recommended for people suffering from constipation.
  3. This pranayama should not be practiced if you are suffering from heart problems.
  4. Those who are suffering from low blood pressure should be cautious as this pranayama may lower your blood pressure even more.
  5. If you have a cold, cough, asthma, bronchitis or other respiratory diseases refrain from practicing Sheetkari Pranayama.
  6. Avoid practicing Sheetkari pranayama during cold days since cold air can aggravate your lungs.
  7. It is not recommended to practice this pranayama during pregnancy.

How to Perform Sheetkari Pranayama?

Now let me share with you quick and simple instructions on how to perform Sheetkari pranayama.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position, legs crossed, back straight, eyes closed.
  2. Gently press your lower and upper teeth together. Separate your lips as much as possible and expose your teeth to the air (as if you smiled).
  3. Take a breath through clenched teeth and focus on the hissing sound. Feel the cool air coming in. Raise your chin towards the ceiling.
  4. At the end of inhalation, close your mouth and relax the tongue.
  5. Exhale through your nose without opening your mouth and feel the gush of coolness into your nervous system and mind.

Repeat up to 20 times.

Additional Tips:

  • Sheetkari pranayama should be practiced in hot weather, as well as after vigorous asana or other pranayama practices.
  • Never practice this pranayama in cold air – it can damage your lungs.
  • Stop practicing Sheetkari pranayama if you feel any discomfort.

The Bottom Line

Sheetkari pranayama is quite a simple yet very effective pranayama. Its practice will help you cool your body and get rid of thirst, which is very convenient in situations when you are in a hot environment for a long time without access to water. Many women noticed that Sheetkari pranayama can help with hot flashes during menopause and balance mood swings.

As you can see, Sheetkari pranayama has many benefits, however, it is not recommended to practice in a cool room with working AC or during a cold season. Since when performing Sheetkari pranayama the air does not enter through the nose as usual, but through the mouth, it does not have time to warm up. Therefore, inhaling cold air can lead to angina, bronchitis, or other respiratory diseases.


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How To Change The Perception Of Your Body With Yoga

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Change Your Perception Of Your Body Image

The sad fact is that about 95 percent of women and 30 percent of men have issues about the way their bodies look. We, modern humans, have a very unstable perception of our bodies: from showing off our over sexual images on social media to absolute body-hate and not wanting to see ourselves in the mirror. We quickly go from one polarity to another, however, both of them have nothing to do with self-love. If your perception of your body is dependent on how much you weigh or if your muscles are toned enough, then you are most likely a prisoner of a delusional self-image made by society norms and standards.

The unhealthy tendency of modern people is that we all struggle with bad body image from time to time. Our relationship with our bodies and ourselves is always changing depending on the situation or circumstance. It takes constant awareness, mindfulness, and willingness to create a balanced and harmonious relationship with our bodies. But, unfortunately, most of us are too busy with self-hate and self-pity that we can’t hear what our bodies are trying to tell us.

Ancient traditions and mindfulness practices offer us practical ways to stabilize our relationship with our bodies. And one of them is yoga. In this article, we want to share with you how yoga practice can change your perception of your body and create a healthy and harmonious relationship with it!

4 Ways Yoga Can Positively Affect Your Body Image

Now let’s take a deeper look at what 4 solutions yoga offers you to change your perception of your body.

#1: Mindfulness through movement

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Yoga helps us create a good relationship with our bodies through movement.

In yoga, we do not try to prove anything to ourselves or to others. Rather, performing each asana is our personal way of cultivating harmony. Every time we face the challenge of new asanas, patiently endure discomfort, and respect all our bodily and emotional experiences, we express gratitude to our body.

When performing asanas, pay attention to how much your body can do – how it allows you to twist, stretch, balance, and bend. Notice all the different parts of the body that make this or that asana possible and thank them. In this way, you can cultivate awareness of the power of your body, and, as a result, change your perception of your body.

#2: Mindfulness through positive self-talk

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One of the best lessons yoga teaches us is to focus on our opportunities instead of limitations.

It’s always so easy to get influenced by our negative self-image, to see that there is always something wrong with us, judge our bodies, and compare them with others’. Such negativity makes us rigid and stifles our natural playfulness.

Yoga can help us let go of the habit of negative self-talk and self-judgment.

Next time you practice yoga, pay attention to how you talk to yourself and to your body. Listen to your inner talk. Are you criticizing yourself for not being flexible enough? Are you comparing your yoga skills to others? Learn to talk to yourself in a caring positive way. Only use positive and compassionate words in your self-talk. Develop the skill of practicing yoga joyfully and cheerfully, and not with judgment and perfectionism. Remember – yoga is not just the asanas but also your inner growth and the self-realization that is happening during your practice.

#3: Mindfulness through observation

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It is impossible to establish a good relationship with your body if you do not break out of the vicious circle of judgment and self-criticism. In order to let go of these negative habits yoga suggests us to take an observer’s position.

The observer’s position is neutral. You observe your practice, your life, your body without judging it – whether it’s good or bad. You observe but don’t shape the result of your observation into the form of opinion.

When you practice yoga, just notice everything that you feel – your breathing, the way different parts of your body touch the floor, the sensations in your muscles, the thoughts rushing through your head. Just notice everything without judging. As you get used to practicing this way, you will notice that you have become more aware of your body’s capabilities, as well as its unique qualities. And there is no need of judgement or opinion – whether it’s good or bad, it is rather a neutral state of noticing the results of your observation.

#4: Focus on the present moment

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Yoga is the best practice to cultivate presence.

When we think negatively about our bodies, we are not present in the moment. We are mentally transported to the past or future by comparing ourselves to how we used to look in the past or how we want to look in the future. As a result, we never appreciate and love the bodies we have this very moment. You are taking your focus away from the body that needs to be loved NOW, that needs to be appreciated NOW, and needs to be noticed and accepted NOW! However, it’s never good enough in the present moment.

We have high expectations of how our bodies have to look in order for us to love ourselves. This is how pressure and stress get created. And the most dangerous thing about this mindset is that our bodies can feel what we think of them. They feel our hate, our stress, our high expectations. And often, these negative emotions create such a big pressure in our bodies that they start to get sick.

Moreover, our feelings of shame and guilt lead to a loss of connection with the present moment, and it becomes even more difficult for us to feel confident about our bodies.

Through breathing exercises and yoga asanas, we learn to be “here and now” – and this is an important factor in order to reduce anxiety and negative thoughts.

Our breath connects us to the present moment. So take a little time to just sit and observe it. Observe how your breathing affects your ability to balance and twist. Observe how conscious breathing changes how you talk to yourself and how you perceive your body. With every exhale let go of negative self-image. With every inhale, fill your body in with self-love and positivity.

The Bottom Line

Mindful movement, self-talk, observation, and focusing on the present moment are four keys that you can use to change your perception of your body towards a positive self-image, self-love, self-acceptance, and awareness. If you start using mindfulness during your yoga practice, very soon you will notice that you are becoming more mindful in your everyday life. You will become more mindful in your self-talk which will help you to create a positive self-image and more confidence in life.


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