Take a Cooling Breath

June 25, 2017

“Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.”
~ Walt Whitman

Summer has arrived, and with it our first summer heat wave.  In honor of these longest days, full of sun and warmth, I thought I would share a simple yogic breathing technique that helps to release excess heat.  Called Sheetali Pranayama or “Cooling Breath” it is a simple and fun way to cool and calm the nervous system and quiet the mind.

Here’s how:

Find a place to sit comfortably, preferably in the shade, if you’re outdoors, or a cool part of your indoor space.  Sit up tall, relaxing the shoulders and resting your hands comfortably at your knees or in your lap.

Curl the sides of your tongue up into the shape of a taco shell and extend the tip slightly out of your mouth.  Inhale slowly and steadily through your mouth, letting the air pass across your curled tongue as it cools your upper palate.

Exhale through your nose, lightly touching the tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth as you breath out.  Curl your tongue and repeat the inhale through the mouth, followed by an exhale through the nose.  Continue this breathing technique for one to five minutes, until you feel the cooling and calming effects.

If you find it difficult to curl the sides of your tongue, you can very lightly purse your lips and inhale with your tongue hovering just behind your teeth as you breathe.  This variation is known as Sitkari Pranayama.

If you have time, you can finish with a few minutes of simple visualization: perhaps imagining yourself on a soft sandy beach, the cool, gentle sea water flowing underneath you as the waves move in and out of the shore, synchronized with your inhales and exhales.  Hear the occasional seagull flying overhead as the fresh, salty breezes blow gently around you, while the setting sun moves beyond the horizon.

Breathe, smile and stay cool!

“Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

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Satisfy your cookie craving without heating up your kitchen by making a batch of Cool Kitchen Microwave-baked Muesli Cookies.

Cool Kitchen Microwave-Baked Muesli Cookies
These soft, delicious and nutritious cookies are a great way to use up leftover Muesli.  The recipe requires no eggs and no oven!  The cookies aren’t too sweet, so they make yummy treats for breakfast or a midday snack.  Be sure to use a Muesli with no or low sugar.  I used Trader Joe’s Muesli, with whole grain oats, seeds and nuts; which is sweetened with pear juice concentrate (3 grams of sugar per 1/4 cup).  Make these the night before and they will be ready and waiting the next morning for you to enjoy with your breakfast.

 

1 medium very ripe banana (1/2 cup mashed)
3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled*
2 tablespoons confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Dash of ground cinnamon (1/8 tsp)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
*Pinch of salt, if using unsalted butter
1 & 1/2 cups muesli

 

In a medium bowl, thoroughly mash banana with a fork until creamy, with no chunks.  Stir in butter, sugar and vanilla.  Mix well.  Set bowl aside.

In a small bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt, if using (I used salted butter, so I omitted the salt).

Add flour mixture to banana mixture and stir to combine.  Stir in muesli.  Mix well.

Line a microwave-safe plate with parchment paper (I used a paper plate).  Drop cookie dough by tablespoon onto plate and flatten slightly with back of spoon.  Leave about half an inch of space between each lightly-flattened cookie (they don’t spread, but they do rise and expand a bit).  I fit six cookies on my plate.

Microwave at regular power for 90 seconds.  The time could be more or less, depending on your microwave and the number of cookies on your plate.  I would say probably anywhere from 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the strength of your microwave.  Less cookies will need less time.

Remove the plate from the microwave, wait about 30 seconds and then move parchment paper with cookies to a cooling rack.  You will want to let these cool COMPLETELY at room temperature before tasting, in order to enjoy the proper texture.  Continue with the rest of the cookie dough , about 3 to 6 cookies at a time, until all are cooked.

Enjoy for breakfast with yogurt or a glass of milk.  They also make great snacks to pack in your lunch bag, briefcase or purse.

Store leftover cookies in the fridge in a sealed container or zipped plastic storage bag.

Makes about 18 cookies

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