Yoga and Hydrotherapy A Cold Shower in the Morning

Wed, 28 Mar 2012

After having gone through the morning routine described in the article ' Morning Routine', you are ready to take your cold shower ('ishnaan' or hydrotherapy). We will first explain the benefits and science of hydrotherapy, so you can understand why you would want to put yourself through what on first reading might seem an agonising experience, first thing in the morning.

The science of hydrotherapy has been known since ancient times, and while warm showers can be used at other times of the day, a brief cold shower in the morning is the healthiest and most efficient way to start your day. Cold showers have a wide range of benefits: they keep your skin radiant, open up the capillaries, flush the organs of toxins, keep the blood chemistry young and healthy, stimulate the healthy secretion of the glandular system and strengthen the entire nervous system . They also strengthen the 8th chakra - the aura - which is your protective and projective shield. On top of all that, cold showers really wake you up in the morning - you will not need any coffee after a cold shower - and they give you a lot of mental strength . If you can put yourself voluntarily through a cold shower in the morning, nothing coming across your path during the day will be able to stop you. And once you have had your first cold shower experience, you will be hooked: a warm shower just cannot give that same feeling of being alive and feeling your blood rush all throughout your body.

The science of hydrotherapy is very precise and sophisticated, and very simple at the same time. If you let the cold water fall just below the lower lip for 10 to 15 minutes, your mind will become very bright and clear. Letting the water fall between the eyebrows and the upper lip will energise you. Do not let the water hit the forehead, as this will make you extremely sleepy. If you massage the upper arm, you are curing your stomach. The part from your elbow to about 2 inches (5 centimetres) above your wrist corresponds to your digestive tract, while the part from 2 inches above the wrist to the wrist corresponds to your heart. The wrist itself corresponds to your liver, and the fingertips correspond to your brain. If you put the water on the front of your neck and let it run down your entire body and over your hands, you will change all your cells. If you let the water hit your chest and let it run all the way down to your genitals and then stay under it for a while, you are totally changing the chemistry of the blood from unhealthy to healthy. If you let the water hit your feet and massage the right foot with the left foot, and the left foot with the right foot, you are actually massaging your entire body. Before you go into the shower, you may first want to massage the body from head to toe with pure almond oil. This brings the toxins out through the open pores and nourishes the skin. (Almond oil is preferred for its high mineral content, but as it is quite heavy on the liver, you can also use any other pure type of oil, such as sesame oil, avocado oil, or jojoba oil.)

Get under the cold shower (use ice-cold water, not lukewarm water), but do not simply go and stand underneath, just begin with the outer extremities: first hands, then feet, then arms, then legs. The thighs should not go under the water first, as that would disturb the calcium-magnesium balance, and we highly recommend wearing mid-thigh or knee-length cotton shorts under a cold shower to protect the sexual organs and the femur bone in the thighs. Do not put your head under the water first either. There are also some contraindications: do not take cold showers when you have a fever, rheumatism or heart disease. Women should not take a cold shower during pregnancy or menstruation. If there are problems with the sciatic nerve or high blood pressure, make sure you start slowly.

Massage yourself as you move in and out from the cold water. Pay special attention to the lymph nodes under the armpits, as it will help to prevent colds. Women should also pay extra attention to their breasts: massaging them in a cold shower on a daily basis will keep circulation strong and acts as a preventative against breast cancer . Everywhere the cold water hits your body, the blood will rush to the surface to meet the challenge. All the capillaries will open up, causing deposits and toxins to be cleansed out. The whole body will be cleansed from the inside out. When the capillaries return to normal, the blood supply goes back to the organs, and as each organ has its own blood supply, having a cold shower flushes all the organs clean. This in turn has an effect on the glandular system: the glands now immediately have to change their secretion. The glands are the guardians of your health, and when they change their secretion, youth returns. Also, everywhere you massage your body, rebuilding will occur and the psyche of each cell of the body will be reconstructed.

Chanting a mantra under the shower may help you keep going. You will feel the cold, but if you keep at it long enough, the capillaries will open up to the maximum and the body will stop feeling the cold, as it meets the cold by its own circulatory power. After you have stood under the shower for 1 to 2 minutes - continuously massaging yourself and going in and out of the water, letting the water constantly hit other parts of your body - , you can come out (you can start with 30 seconds if you want; some people like to stay in a cold shower for up to 5 or even 10 minutes). Towel yourself dry, rubbing the skin briskly, put on warm clothes (cotton would be the best choice) and if needed put a blanket around you. You are now ready to start your day - preferably with some yoga or meditation before you go to work or begin your normal daily schedule.

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