Sitali Pranayama, or Sheetali Pranayama, is an ancient yogic breathing technique that has been practiced for centuries to bring coolness and calmness to the body and mind. It is believed to bring balance to the body, mind, and soul. It is used to promote relaxation and improve concentration to manage stress and improve overall physical health.
It is a simple yet powerful practice that anyone can enjoy, regardless of their fitness level or experience with yoga. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of Sitali Pranayama and how to practice it.
You’ll learn how to get the most out of this calming and cooling practice and how it can benefit your overall health and well-being. Get ready to experience the power of Sitali Pranayama for yourself!
What is Sitali Pranayama?
Sitali Pranayama, also known as Cooling Breath, is a yogic breathing technique that uses a controlled cooling breath to induce coolness, reduce stress and promote relaxation and tranquility. The word “Sitali” is derived from the Sanskrit word ” Sheetal, ” which means “cool.” Hence as the name suggests, Sitali Pranayama provides coolness to the whole body, calms the mind, and rejuvenates the mind and body.
Sheetali pranayama is mentioned in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, an ancient yoga text. The practice has special reference to using the breath to cool the body during hot weather. Therefore, this pranayama is very beneficial in summer because it maintains coolness in the body. Through the use of this technique, you will notice a difference in your breath, as well as your mind and body. After just one session, you will feel reduced stress and a greater sense of calm.
Sitali Pranayama can have even more powerful results for those who practice this technique regularly. It can improve focus, concentration, and even physical health. It is said to help the body release toxins, calm the nervous system, and reduce tension. Sitali Pranayama is a great way to start your day or end it.
Benefits of Sitali Pranayama
Sheetali Pranayama is great for cooling and calming the mind and body. It is known to help lower blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety, making it an excellent technique for relaxation. Some of the benefits of Sitali or Sheetali Pranayama are discussed below:
Keeps the body and mind cool
Regular practice of Sitali Pranayama helps reduce the overall body temperature and hence helps keep us cool and calm, especially during summer.
When we’re stressed or anxious, it can be hard to concentrate. Sitali pranayama will help center your body and mind, allowing you to remain focused and calm even when faced with a busy or stressful environment.
Improving respiratory health
Sitali Pranayama is great for improving respiratory health. It enhances the flow of air in and out of the body, helping you breathe more deeply and fully.
Sitali pranayama is said to help flush out toxins from the body, making it an excellent practice for detoxification.
Sitali Pranayama will help you calm your nervous system and increase your energy.
Sitali Pranayama is great for improving focus, which can be helpful in many areas of life, such as in the classroom or at work.
Sitali Pranayama can help you get better sleep at night. It is a great technique for preparing for bed.
If you experience acne or blemished skin, Sitali Pranayama can help improve your skin health.
Sitali pranayama has been shown to help promote fat loss, which can be helpful for people trying to lose weight.
Regulates pitta dosha
The practice of Sheetali Pranayama relieves excessive body heat, which also corrects pitta dosha imbalance.
Other health benefits include reducing arthritis symptoms, boosting metabolism, improving digestion and boosting immunity.
How to practice Sitali Pranayama
Following are the steps to perform Sitali or Sheetali Pranayama:
- To begin, sit on the yoga mat in any meditative and comfortable posture, such as Padmasana or Sukhasana, with the head, neck and spine in a straight line.
- Make Gyan Mudra with your hands and place them on your knees.
- Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and exhale in a natural rhythm.
- Stick your tongue out slightly, rolling it towards the center to make a pipe-like shape. This pipe like shape is like the beak of the crow (kakachanchu).
- Now inhale entirely through the pipe part of your tongue and fill the belly. Retract your tongue and close your mouth. Apply chin lock (jaladhara bandha). Hold your breath (kumbhaka) for 5 seconds.
- Now open the chin lock and exhale completely through the nose.
These steps will complete one round of cold breath.
Variation to Sitali Pranayama
Some practitioners find difficulty or inability to roll the tongue. In that case, you can practice a simple variation of Sheetali Pranayama.
- Follow steps 1-3, same as above.
- Then instead of rolling your tongue into the shape of a pipe, purse your lips in a small O shape and keep your flat tongue in your mouth. After this, Inhale deeply through the O shape of your lips.
- Close your mouth and exhale slowly through your nose.
This will give your mouth and body a feeling of coolness equally.
Also, instead of doing Sitali Pranayama, you can practice Sitkari Pranayama because that will give you the same coolness, peace and other benefits.
Contradictions of Sitali Pranayama
- People with joint pain should not practice Sitali Pranayama as it may increase discomfort.
- People having the problem of low blood pressure should not practice Sitali Pranayama.
- People with respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis, and wet cough should avoid practicing Sitali Pranayama.
- Sitali Pranayama should not be practiced if there is an imbalance of Kapha dosha in the body.
- Also, Sheetali Pranayama should not be practiced in cold weather.
In case of any underlying health condition, it is advised to practice Sitali Pranayama under the guidance and supervision of an expert yoga guru.
Precautions for Sitali Pranayama
- Sitali Pranayama is not preferred in cold weather as it further cools down the body temperature.
- Avoid doing Sitali Pranayama when the surrounding air is highly polluted.
- Make sure to practice Sitali Pranayama in sitting yoga asanas. If you are uncomfortable sitting on the floor, prop a cushion under you or sit in a chair. Just keep in mind that your spine is straight.
- Remember to inhale through the mouth and exhale through the nose.
Tips for getting the most out of Sitali Pranayama
Practice Sheetali Pranayama at least once a day in the summer season. You can do it first thing in the morning, last thing at night, or before starting a busy day. Practicing it regularly will help you get the most out of this technique.
- Be mindful as you practice Sitali Pranayama. Focus on the cooling sensation in your mouth, the rhythm of your breath, and the feeling of calm that comes over the body.
- Try to practice Sitali Pranayama in a quiet setting. This will help to clear your mind and make the practice more effective.
- Be gentle with yourself. You don’t have to do this perfectly. This is a practice, and you are always growing and improving.
Sitali Pranayama and Ayurveda
Sitali Pranayama is a very cooling practice and is best suited for people who have excess Pitta energy (pitta dosha) in their bodies. Pitta is an Ayurvedic dosha that governs the fire (agni) and water (jala) elements and is responsible for controlling the digestive process and metabolism in the body.
People who have more pitta dosha, their body produces more heat. This can lead to acid reflux, indigestion, gas, bloating, hormonal imbalance, frustration, anger, insomnia, etc.
If you have excess Pitta energy and you regularly practice Sitali Pranayama or The Cooling Breath, you may notice that you experience a reduction in symptoms of excess heat in the body and mind.
This cold breathing technique provides a natural way to get rid of various diseases by dispelling heat.
Sitali Pranayama and Meditation
Sitali Pranayama is a great technique to practice before meditation. It will help you to calm the mind, relax the body, and get ready for a more focused seated practice.
Sitali Pranayama is also a great way to end a meditation practice. It will help you to bring your mind back to the present moment and bring a sense of calmness to the end of your session.
Sitali Pranayama is a great breathing technique to practice before or during your meditation practice. It will help you to calm the mind and relax the body, which can make it easier to sit for longer periods of time.
It will also help you to bring your attention back to the present moment, which can be helpful during any type of meditation practice.
Sitali Pranayama is a form of yogic breathing that is often used in Ayurveda to induce coolness, improve balance and promote health. The practice involves inhaling deeply through the nose and exhaling slowly through the mouth, focusing on filling up your stomach rather than your chest with air.
This mild breath technique has been shown to help cool the body, calm the mind, increase flexibility, reduce anxiety and tension headaches, clear sinuses, freshen the breath, and improve sleep quality.
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