Shitali Pranayama (Cooling Breath): Steps & Benefits of Shitali Breathing 

Sitali pranayama (sometimes written “Shitali pranayama”) is a very useful breathing technique for lowering the body temperature. It is ideal when the body perceives a lot of heat, for example during the summer season or when you are in environments dominated by heat and high humidity. At the same time, Sitali pranayama is indicated in moments of strong nervous tension, when you feel anger or agitation: emotions and sensations that can cause an increase in body temperature. It is also suitable after practicing a very dynamic yoga sequence, as it restores balance to the body.

Shitali pranayama benefits
In addition to counteracting the heat in summer, Sitali Pranayama is useful for lowering fever and for fighting hot flashes during menopause, just like Sitkari Pranayama, wheezing, in fact the benefits are very similar:

Regulates and lowers body temperature.
Promotes muscle relaxation.
It has a relaxing effect.
Refresh the brain.
Lower your blood pressure.
Calm the emotions.
Relieves Stress.
Refreshes body and mind.
It has a detoxifying effect on the nervous system.
It stimulates the flow of prana (life energy) throughout the body.


Sitali pranayama is not recommended:

    During the winter, as the cold air could harm the lungs.
    To those suffering from low blood pressure
    For those suffering from respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis or excess mucus.
    In polluted places because the air is not filtered through the nose.

When and how much to practice shitali pranayama 

You can practice Sitali pranayama once a day for 6/12 cycles (remember, a complete cycle consists of an inhalation and an exhalation) or as needed (as first aid). During your Yoga practice you can use it after the most vigorous asanas or at the end of a dynamic yoga session, such as ashtanga, vinyahasa or power yoga. When you need to find calm and freshness, remember your breath! With Sitali prayama, heat will no longer be a problem, because you will have a natural "fresh air conditioner" always at hand.

Shitali pranayama steps

There are several yoga schools. The technique called Shitali Pranayama differs in small details, such as the retention of breath with full or empty lungs.

However, the basic procedure is similar for all traditions, and can be summarized as follows:

You sit in a comfortable but upright position, possibly without leaning your back, in order to support yourself with the muscles of the trunk; It is important to dedicate this time as peacefully as possible, sure not to be disturbed for a few minutes, so that you can concentrate on your breath.

At least at the beginning, if you are not familiar with conscious breathing techniques, to learn we dedicate an exclusive time and space to this important practice;

The eyes are closed and attention is paid to the breath, listening to its rhythm, the alternation of full and empty, the position in which one breathes and its depth, if there are pauses or stiffness;

Gradually the body relaxes, keeping it alert, but without tension;

The mouth is half closed and the tongue is put out on the lips, bending it in the shape of a U: this will be a sort of channel from which the air will flow during inhalation;

Breathe in with your mouth, feeling how fresh air passes over your tongue and refreshes it;

The mouth is closed and the tongue is placed on the palate;

Some schools, at this point, hold their breath or push it into the abdomen: let's avoid it if we are at the first experiences. We simply leave its rhythm to the breath;

Exhale from the nostrils;

Let's start over.

In the beginning it is useful to practice it for a few minutes, not more than five. If dizziness occurs, it means that we are forcing our breathing capacity, either by rhythm or by volume.

It is therefore necessary to stop and lie down, and recover our natural breath. Breathing says a lot about us, and forcing it, in the beginning, means forcing the message it wants to convey.

When you become more familiar it will be possible to perform Shitali Pranayama in any position and at any time you feel the need.

This refreshing breathing is useful when the weather gets too hot, both externally and internally: in case of fever, or hot flashes, or when emotions flare up like heat from the inside out.


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