‘Sheetali’ is a Sanskrit word that implies ‘cooling’. Sheetali Yoga is one of the most important Pranayama techniques implemented during yoga practice in summer. When this Pranayama is practiced, it leads the yogi to experience a sudden surge of cooling sensation in his entire body that helps in beating the persistent summer heat. It is an ideal Pranayama for cooling a person’s body after an invigorating workout session. Hence, it is usually advised to practice this summer-friendly breathing technique at the end of each yoga session during yoga practice under heat.
Method and Technique
Sit comfortably in the position of Vajrasana – cross-legged with spine upright, arms and shoulders relaxed.
Focus on your breath for the next few moments. Observe its flow at the tip of the nose.
Bring the tongue all the way out and curl its lateral edges so it can roll in the shape of a tube.
Inhale deeply through the rolled out tongue.
After complete inhalation, lower the chin to the chest in Jalandhara Bandha and hold the breath for 6 to 8 seconds (to the extent of your comfort level)
When you are ready to exhale – lift your chin up, close the right nostril with the right thumb.
Exhale slowly through the left nostril by using Ujjayi breath.
You may repeat the steps for five deep breaths.
In order to come back to the initial position, bring the breathing back to normal and relax.
Benefits of Sheetali Yoga
Sheetali Yoga helps to cool the body’s system down completely which makes it an ideal exercise for post-workout cool down. The cooling effect happens due to incoming breath which makes contact with the moisture in the mouth.
This cool down does not just happen physically. Sheetali Pranayama yoga also helps calm the nerves down and further calms the mind.
● Helps deal with stress more efficiently.
● Helps lower blood pressure.
● Helps you to sleep better-- fights insomnia.
● Helps you feel mentally less anxious. Leads you to manage anger more effectively.
● Prevents premature ageing of hair and reduces hair fall.
● Try not to practice this technique during extreme winter season.
● Avoid practicing this pose if you suffer from any kind of congestion in the chest or nose.
● Avoid this Pranayama if you have low blood pressure as this technique contributes to lowering the blood pressure further.
● Avoid this pose if you suffer from chronic constipation.
● Avoid it if you suffer from heart condition, asthma or any other respiratory disorder.
In order to perform Sheetali Pranayama yoga, it is necessary for the yogi to have the ability to roll their tongue by curling its lateral edges upward. This ability is genetic. Hence, it is possible that every yogi may not be able to perform it correctly. In such a situation, an alternate Pranayama known as ‘sheetkari’ breathing technique can be exercised for achieving a similar cooling effect.