Hot and bothered? The summer months can turn even the coolest of us into grumpy, sweaty messes.
Yoga has the answer to that: Sitali Pranayama, a breathing technique that helps cool the physical body and calm the nervous system. No more grumpiness OR sweatiness, hurrah!
Sitali means cooling and Pranayama means breath manipulation. All breathing exercises in yoga fall under the Pranayama umbrella.
It’s important when practicing any form of Pranayama that the breath flow smoothly and without discomfort and that the jaw and nostrils stay soft.
This exercise requires that you know how to curl your tongue; however, if you can’t curl your tongue or would rather keep your practice inconspicuous, you have the option of simply breathing in and out of the mouth with your lips in a narrow ‘O’ shape (known as Sitakari Pranayama).
Here’s a step-by-step guide:
Sit in a comfortable position on the floor or a chair with a long spine and relaxed shoulders.
Bring your attention to your natural, everyday breath which travels in and out of the nose.
To maintain your focus, count 1 on your inhales and 2 on your exhales.
Repeat this for 10 cycles of breath.
Now you can either stick your tongue out and curl it or create a small circle with your lips.
Take a slow breathe in through the tongue or mouth. This will create the sound of blowing wind.
Retract your tongue, close your mouth and exhale smoothly through the nose.
Repeat steps 5 to 7 from 1 to 5 minutes.
When your 10 cycles are up, lie down on your back and repeat steps 2 to 4 - slowly moving back to your normal breathing pattern.