Sitkari Pranayama is an ancient breathing technique practiced for centuries in India that provides coolness to the body. In this article, we’ll explore what is Sitkari Pranayama, the benefits of practicing this technique, and how to do it safely.
Besides giving the benefits of coolness, it is a powerful tool for physical and mental health and can help you relax and feel energized. Sitkari Pranayama is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, improve mental clarity, and enhance physical health. So, if you’re looking for a way to invigorate your mind and body, read on to learn more about the power of Sitkari Pranayama!
What is Sitkari Pranayama?
Sitkari Pranayama or Sitkari Breath, also known as Cooling Breath and Hissing Breath, is an ancient breathing technique developed in India, mentioned in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
It is a form of pranayama, where ‘prana’ is the life force, and ‘ayama’ means expansion. Sitkari is derived from Sanskrit, where ‘sit’ means cool, and ‘kari’ is an ‘action to do.’ Therefore, Sitkari Pranayama aims to control the body temperature to achieve coolness in the body and calmness in mind with a controlled breathing practice. Also, it has got its name, Hissing Breath, because of the hissing sound produced while inhaling through the gap of the teeth.
In Sitkari Pranayama, the breath is inhaled, retained, and then released in a slow, controlled manner. It is said to be particularly beneficial for calming the mind, cooling the body, and promoting relaxation.
The practice of Sitkari Pranayama is written in the ancient Indian scriptures and is still widely practiced today. It is a simple yet powerful cooling technique that can be used to cure Pitta Dosha, which is caused due to excessive heat in the body. It also reduces stress, improves mental clarity, and enhances physical health.
Benefits of Sitkari Pranayama
There are many benefits of practicing Sitkari Pranayama. Here are just a few of the benefits.
Provides coolness to the body- Sitkari Pranayama is beneficial in providing coolness to the body. It is especially effective in summer and acts as a body cooler.
Balances pitta dosha- Sitkari Pranayama is very beneficial for people with pitta dosha imbalance. It helps remove excess body heat and cures various health problems, such as hyperacidity, gastric issues, etc., caused due to pitta dosha.
Helps manage oral health- Sitkari Pranayama manages and benefits oral health by relieving dental problems and gum problems and removing bad mouth odor and other bacterial infections.
Calms the nervous system- The cooling effect provided by Sitkari Pranayama positively affects the body as well as the mind, thereby benefiting the nervous system.
Reduces stress and anxiety- Sitkari Pranayama helps to reduce stress and anxiety by calming the mind and body. Slow, controlled breathing helps to create a sense of relaxation, which can help to reduce stress levels.
Improves mental clarity- Sitkari Pranayama can help improve mental clarity and concentration. It helps to focus the mind and drive away distracting thoughts, paving the way for positive thoughts.
Enhances physical health-Sitkari Pranayama can help improve physical health by increasing the oxygen levels in the body. It can help improve blood circulation, reduce fatigue, and promote overall health.
Promotes relaxation- Sitkari Pranayama can help promote relaxation and a sense of inner peace. The cooling and rhythmic breathing pattern helps to calm the mind and body and can help reduce stress levels.
Boon for skin- Regular practice of Sitkari Pranayama helps reduce pitta dosha in the body, reducing skin inflammation, redness, and other skin-related problems and giving you glowing skin.
How to Practice Sitkari Pranayama
If you’re looking to experience the benefits of Sitkari Pranayama, here are some tips on how to practice it safely and effectively:
- Sit in any comfortable Yoga asana: Begin by sitting in any comfortable yoga posture, such as Padmasana or Sukhasana. Make sure to align your head, neck, and spine straight.
- Close your eyes: Once you are comfortable, close your eyes and focus on your breath.
- Position the mouth- Open your lips wide and bring the teeth of your jaws together. Place the tongue on the back side of the teeth in the middle.
- Take a deep breath: Take a deep breath through the gap between your teeth and focus on the hissing sound of your breath.
- Feel the coolness: Now, feel the cooling sensation in your mouth.
- Exhale slowly: Then, exhale slowly through your nose.
- Repeat: Repeat this process for a few cycles. As you become more comfortable with the technique, you can increase the duration of your practice.
Variation to Sitkari Pranayama with Chin lock and Breath Retention
After you are comfortable with the practice of Sitkari Pranayama, as mentioned above, you can move on to chin lock and breath retention.
Follow the same steps till point 4, i.e., take a deep breath, then add the following steps:
- Swallow the inhaled breath down the throat.
- Apply chin lock (Jalandhar Bandha).
- Hold your breath (kumbhaka) for 5 seconds.
- Open the chin lock and exhale through your nose.
Contraindications of Sitkari Pranayama
- People with joint pains should refrain from practicing Sitkari Pranayama as it may aggravate the problems.
- People with the issue of low blood pressure should not practice Sitkari pranayama.
- People with respiratory problems such as bronchitis, sore throat, cough and cold, tonsils, etc., should avoid Sitkari pranayama.
- Refrain from practicing this pranayama in winter.
- Sitkari should be avoided in case of congestion and chronic constipation.
In case of any underlying health conditions, it is advised to practice Sitakari Pranayama under the guidance and supervision of an expert Yoga Guru.
Precautions for Sitkari Pranayama
- Sitkari pranayama is not preferred during cold weather as it further cools the body temperature.
- Avoid doing Sitkari Pranayama when the surrounding air is heavily polluted.
- Be sure your body’s temperature and surroundings are similar, as breathing too cold can affect your lungs.
- Do not practice kumbhaka or breath retention for so long, as extended breath retention can cause it to re-heat inside the body.
- Make sure to practice any pranayama in yoga asana and not while walking or lying down. If you cannot sit cross-legged on the floor, then sit on a chair only for Pranayama. Make sure that your spine is straight.
- Remember that the inhaled should be exhaled only through the nose and not through the mouth.
Sitkari Pranayama is an ancient breathing technique practiced for centuries in India. It is a powerful tool for physical and mental health and can help you relax and feel energized. Sitkari Pranayama can help to reduce heat in the body, reduce stress and anxiety, improve mental clarity, and enhance physical health.
It can also help promote relaxation, sleep, and spiritual growth.
Remember to practice Sitkari Pranayama safely and take it slow. Start by practicing for a few minutes at a time and gradually increase the duration of your practice. With regular practice, you can experience the benefits of Sitkari Pranayama and enjoy a healthier, more energized life.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ’s)
Q1- Why is Sitkari Pranayama recommended over Sitali Pranayama?
A1- Sitkari Pranayama is a simple and easy breathing technique that provides coolness to the body. Sheetali Pranayama also gives the same benefit. However, sitkari pranayama is recommended for practitioners who find it challenging to practice sitali pranayama by folding the tongue and breathing or those with sensitive gums and teeth.
Q2- After what time should sitkari pranayama be done after meals?
A2- Sitkari Pranayama should be practiced on an empty stomach. So either practice it early in the morning or wait for 4-5 hours after meals.