What a ride this summer has been! I can’t believe that August is almost upon us. ????
It’s been a whirlwind these past few weeks, between coaching, teaching and presenting at events!
I’m so grateful for everyone who came out to practice with me at the Toronto Fringe, Hillside and Gerrard Art Space. It’s been great to connect with you and I’m excited to continue to share this work with you.
While it’s all been very exciting, at times it has also felt overstimulating and I often leave events feeling like I’m buzzing on the inside from all the energy that was created (sound familiar?).
Along with buzzing, I also often experience this excess energy as heat. My face gets red, I sweat more and my skin feels hot to the touch. While it seems like I’ve just been out in the sun for a while, this happens even when I present inside or in a cool space. This heat is not generated from an outside source, it’s created from within.
The ancient yogis had a word for this type of heat: tapas. This Sanskrit word is derived from the same root as the word for heat or fire. But it also has a deeper meaning.
Tapas refers to the heat that is created from sustained, disciplined effort. This means that when we put our minds and hearts to accomplishing something, tapas is the energy created that allows us to do this work. It’s that spark that gets us out of bed in the morning and the fire motivates us to keep doing the work we love. It’s a good thing.
But just like any fire, you need to monitor your tapas to ensure it doesn’t burn out of control. Too much tapas or fiery energy can leave you feeling restless, ungrounded and anxious. Left unchecked, it can even result in outbursts of anger or aggression. So it’s important to build in down time after performing or working a lot to help return your tapas to a healthy and sustainable burn.
Needless to say, after my busy month, I’ve been digging deep into my own post-performance recovery tool kit for an exercise to help with exactly this.
One exercise that I find particularly useful is a yogic breath exercise called Sitali Pranayama, which translates from Sanskrit to “cooling breath expansion”. Awesome.
Not only is it great for cooling your inner fire, but it also works well if you are feeling physically overheated. Bonus for these summer months!
It’s also easy to do, and only takes a few rounds for you to begin to feel that sweet cooling relief.
Want to try out? Here’s how you do it.
You can repeat this exercise for as many rounds as needed, but often it only takes a few for your whole being to feel the effects. In many ways, the act of drawing air across your tongue to cool your system is similar to why a dog sticks it’s tongue out to pant when it’s hot. Just try on to drool you do it! ????
So try it out, and hopefully it will help you turn down the physical and energetic heat when you’re feeling in the fire. As always, let me know in the comments if you have questions or how it works for you.
I hope you are enjoying your summer so far!
For now, I leave you with this 1983 summer classic from Arrow:
Act(ing) Mindfully is a part of my work with Five Winds. It’s a space where I explore the connection between performance and energy, and offer tips and ideas on how to stay balanced and healthy (body, mind, emotions and spirit) while living the life of a performer.