Sheetali Pranayama: Cooling Your System

Sheetali Pranayama, also known as the ‘Serpents breath’, imitates the respiratory technique of a serpent. Experts suggest that ‘Sheetali Pranayama’ can produce cooling effect on our body and mind by regulating temperature. The relaxing effect on our mind can help in treating emotional excitement and stress. Sheetali Pranayama can further help in toning up our liver, spleen, and digestive system, thereby improving their overall functions.

How to Practice Sheetali Pranayama?

  • You can start this Pranayama in any comfortable sitting asana such as Padmasana or Vajrasana.
  • Then place your hands on your knees with the tip of your index finger touching the thumb. Keep your other 3 fingers joined and straight.
  • Close your eyes and relax.
  • You can now gently bring out the tongue without putting any unnecessary strain.
  • Now, like a tube, gently roll out your tongue from both sides. If you experience difficulty in rolling out the tongue, you can keep the tongue flatly rested in your mouth. By touching the upper front teeth with the lower front teeth, keep your lips parted so that air can enter when inhaled.
  • Inhale through your tubular tongue or, if you have kept your tongue flat, bring in air though your parted lips. You can feel the cool air touching your tongue. This cool air can help in bringing down the temperature of your inhaled breath.
  • Deeply inhale without putting any pressure on your diaphragm or your lungs.
  • After inhalation, you can withdraw the tongue in your mouth.
  • Close your mouth and exhale through your nose.
  • One round is completed with complete inhalation and exhalation.

Who Should Not Practice?
Anyone suffering from asthma or anyone who is prone to cold and secrete mucous or have bronchitis should not practice Sheetali Pranayama. The cool air entering one’s system through inhalation can worsen the symptoms of coldness or such other diseases.

While inhaling in Sheetali Pranayama, you will make a hissing sound like that of a serpent. Each round should take 1-5 minutes. Initially, you can practice with 10 rounds. You can gradually increase it to 15 rounds for general benefit. For best practice, you should do this Pranayama under an expert guidance.

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