Breathe cool with Sitali
Written by: Shalyni Paiyappilly
Sitali Pranayama is known as the “cooling breath” as it allows air to flow across the tongue and into the mouth. This breathing practice is beneficial in calming the nervous system, improving focus, reducing anxiety and anger, and it can serve as the perfect reprieve during the hot summer months.
How to practice: To begin in an easy and comfortable position either in a chair or on the floor, allow shoulders to relax, and keep the spine upright. Lower the chin slightly, curl the sides of your tongue in towards the center to form a tube or straw shape. With pursed lips, stick the end of the tongue out. If curling the tongue isn’t possible, purse your lips, and create a small “o” shape with the mouth. Keep the tongue back against the bottom teeth so that air can pass over it. Inhale slowly as if you are sipping air through a straw and gently lift your chin up. Let the breath expand your chest and fill your belly. At the end of the inhale, with the chin raised, withdraw the tongue, and close the mouth. Exhale slowly through the nose and lower the chin to a neutral position. Explore this practice for 8 to 12 breaths.
Sitali Pranyama can help soothe the body during times of stress or in hot temperatures. So, if you happen to find yourself in a moment of overstimulation, invite Sitali and allow the coolness of your breath to embrace you.