Shitali Pranayama (Sheetali Pranayama), Cooling Breath – Hatha yoga classes in Milton Keynes
Reduce stress through Shitali Pranayama. Cooling Breath Pranayama purifies your blood and rejuvenates your body. It properly removes the excess heat in the body to further cool your body by reducing anxiety, fear and depression. Shitali Pranayama also serves great for ulcers, constipation, acidity, and high blood pressure, indigestion and skin diseases. It also enhances our reproductive organs.
1. Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position. Close your eyes and relax the whole body.
2. Take two or three deep inhales and exhales through the nose to prepare.
3. Extend the tongue outside the mouth as far as possible without strain. Roll the tongue, curling the sides in towards the centre to form a tube. Stick the end of the tongue out between your pursed lips. If you can’t roll your tongue, just purse the lips making a small ‘o’ shape with the mouth.
4. Practise a long, smooth and controlled inhalation through the rolled tongue, allowing the air to pass over your tongue thus creating a cooling sensation.
5. After you inhale, draw the tongue in, close the mouth and exhale through the nose. Then again stick the curled tongue out and repeat. The breath should produce a sucking sound. A feeling of icy coldness will be experienced on the tongue and the roof of the mouth. This is one round.
6. With practice, the duration of the inhalation should gradually become longer to increase the cooling effect. Gradually increase the number of rounds from 9 to 15. For general purposes 15 rounds is sufficient (and up to 60 in hot weather).
About one-third of the population is genetically unable to roll the sides of the tongue into a tube. So if curling of the tongue seems inconceivable to you, then make the shape of a doughnut with your lips, with respect to the semi-doughnut shaped tongue inside. Inhale through your lips. And, Exhale through your nose.
Benefits of Pranayama
The word “shitali (sheetali)” means cooling in sanskrit, and is taken from the original word ‘sheetal’ (which is soothing or cold). The purpose of sheetali breathing is to reduce your body temperature, which in turn calms the mind and lowers stress levels. According to the ancient saint, Swami Swatmaram ‘a person becomes young and attractive by practising this pranayama as it removes excess heat accumulated in the system, which reduces the excess biles, corrects the disorders of spleen, and works on fever’.