Pranayama: Sitali (cooling breath)

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It’s still hot outside and it seems like we haven’t received enough rain this summer.  Here’s a way to cool down with Sitali Pranayama or cooling breath.  First let’s define Pranayama:  It’s a Sanskrit word that loosely translates to life, energy, consciousness and breath combined.  In other traditions it is called chi or qui.  There are several different kinds of pranayama which have different benefits and effects.

Try it!

Sitali is a Sanskrit word (pronounced “she-tall-e”; the “s” sounds like “sh”) which means cooling or soothing.  To practice this breath, slightly open your mouth and roll the tip of your tongue into a tube; take a long slow inhale through the mouth through the tube you’ve made with your tongue then close your mouth and take a long slow exhale through your nose.  You will feel the cooling sensation in the mouth and body almost immediately.  Take 10 of these nice slow inhales and exhales to cool off.

Sitali breath works when your body is physically hot and also when you are mentally hot from anger or frustration.  Some people are unable to roll their tongue into a tube so the alternative method is to slightly open your mouth and form your lips as if you were drinking from a straw; take a long slow inhale through your mouth then close your mouth and take a long slow exhale through your nose.  Repeat 10 times.

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