Most of us love the long days and sunny skies that summer brings! However, sometimes the season’s heat can feel a bit overwhelming. Therefore, it’s important to know how to stay cool when the temperature goes up.
Air conditioning might be a good solution when you’re in your house, but who wants to stay at home when it’s sunny outside? Swimming is another way to cool off, but that’s only possible if you have access to a pool or a body of water nearby.
For all of the times when you can’t turn on the AC or go for a dip, Qi Gong offers some little-known techniques to help you cool off during the year’s hottest months…
In this blog post, we’ll share practical tips to help you release excess heat in your body using Qi Gong principles. We’ll also discuss how you can cultivate the Water Element to experience a refreshing sense of peace and calm whenever you need it.
The Relationship Between Tension and Heat
Before learning the specific practices to release heat, it’s important to understand the relationship between tension and heat within the body.
In Chinese Medicine and Qi Gong, hot and cold temperatures are closely connected to different internal energy states. Cold is connected to Yin, which is associated with calmness and relaxation. Yang, on the other hand, is associated with action, movement, and heat.
Yang has many positive qualities, but it can also cause people to develop emotional tension and stress. When this happens, the body tends to hold onto more heat, which is not what you want on a hot summer day. Under extreme circumstances, stress and tension can make you start sweating, even if you’re just sitting in one place.
This relationship between tension and heat is widely recognized, even beyond Qi Gong communities. If you’ve ever heard someone say, “The conversation got heated,” they were probably referring to a tension in the conversation. Similarly, if someone says, “I need to cool down before dealing with this,” they’re basically acknowledging that they have excess tension and heat that they need to let go of.
The relationship between tension and temperature has been verified by the American Institute of Stress, which states that elevated stress levels (which are closely associated with tension) can lead to increases in body temperature. In fact, there’s even a name to describe this phenomenon, psychogenic fever. Even if your tension levels don’t cause a noticeable fever, you might still be carrying around excess tension and heat.
How to Release Heat and Tension in Your Body
Fortunately, there are simple yet powerful ways to quickly release tension and heat in your body.
One way is to take slow, deep breaths. As you breathe, try to concentrate on your breath and imagine yourself releasing tension and heat with each exhale. If you notice any stressful thoughts pop up, try to simply acknowledge them, and then let them go.
Slow, deep breathing is a great way to calm the mind and let go of negative thinking patterns that lead to tension.
Another effective way to release tension and heat is through stretching. There are many great stretching techniques, so try to choose a few that help you let go of tension in various parts of your body. For example, spend a minute or two reaching down toward your toes to get a good hamstring stretch. Then, sit with your legs stretched out in front of you and rotate your upper body so that you get a good twist in your back and abdomen.
If you can blend deep breathing with these stretching exercises, that’s even better. On your inhale, relax a bit in order to let the air into your lungs. As you exhale, stretch a little deeper to expand your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. As you do so, you’ll feel tension and heat leaving your body.
If you add a body scan to the practice, you can find additional stress and tension to release. As you breathe, pay attention to any parts of your body where you might hold tension. For example, the jaw is a place where many hold tension and tightness. When you notice tension somewhere, try to relax that part of your body in order to release tension and heat.
It’s important to note that you should always pay close attention to your body when you stretch. Only do what feels comfortable, and don’t push it too far. Over time, you’ll continue to release more tension and gain more flexibility.
How to Boost the Water Element to Stay Cool
The Water Element is one of the Five Elements in the human body. Among other responsibilities, it helps the body cool down when the summer season starts to heat up.
There are several effective ways to boost the Water Element, and one of these is through slow, flowing movements. By engaging in the right meditative movements, your body naturally relaxes and slows down, allowing the Water Element to thrive within you.
Here’s one simple Qi Gong flowing exercise to help cultivate the Water Element. This is a great exercise to do right after deep breathing and stretching. If you’re able to do this exercise in front of a body of water, it will add to your practice. However, your home or backyard is also a perfectly fine place to practice as well.
Pulling Down the Heavens
Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and your hands resting at your sides. Take a few deep breaths and allow your mind and body to relax.
When you’re ready, bring your arms up slowly as you inhale until your hands are directly above your head. Then, start to exhale slowly and bring your hands down in front of your body with your palms facing away from you. As you continue exhaling, allow your hands to drop in front of you so your palms turn to face the earth.
On your inhale, bring your arms up again until they’re above your head at the top of your inhale. As you exhale, bring your hands down once more and imagine that you’re clearing tension and heat from your body. At the bottom of your exhale, try to release that tension and heat to the earth beneath your feet.
Continue doing this exercise for a few minutes. As you inhale, bring your arms up slowly until they’re above your head. With each exhale, move them down slowly as you clear tension, tightness, and heat from your body. Try to find a state of effortless flow with your movements, as if you’re letting the energy in your body move you. When you’re done, bring your hands to your lower abdomen and take a few deep breaths to conclude your practice.
Learn More Qi Gong Exercises for Staying Cool, Calm, and Relaxed
If you enjoyed these brief exercises for staying cool during summer, you’ve really just experienced the tip of the iceberg. In Lee Holden’s weekly Qi Gong classes, he shares numerous other exercises that can help you let go of excess stress, tension, and heat.
The best way to try Lee’s Qi Gong classes is to sign up for our free two-week trial! When you register, you’ll gain immediate online access to several unique classes you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.
Click on the banner below to discover how Qi Gong can help you feel your best.