Shitali Pranayama – A Super Effective Yogic Breathing Technique for Summers

Three mature ladies doing yoga outdoors

If you include and practice the right breathing and yoga poses in summers with Yoga or any other exercise routine that you follow, it is likely to keep you focused, healthy, active, and happy as the heat rises. Summer is a season that’s supposed to tire and drain you of energy. We’re listing some poses known for calming your nerves.

Yoga postures or asanas as they are commonly called, it is advised to slow down on those, tough on your body and sap you of energy; it is instead recommended that you practice poses, that are known to offer benefit during summers. Asanas like Shavasan, meditation, and Pranayama should be on the top of the list. Other postures like Anjaneyasana, Vrakshasan (Tree Pose), Badhdha Konasan (butterfly), Simhasana, Dhruvasana, Shashankasana, Ardhkatichakrasana, Chakrasana, Uttanpadasana, Yoga Nidra are also recommended. In this post we will focus on Sitali Pranayam and its benefits at length.

Shitali Pranayama is cooling of the breath Pranayama, which is perfect for summers. It regulates digestive system, sexual energies, cools anger & body temperature, and detoxifies among many other benefits.

Start with 10 rounds (inhale-exhale makes one cycle or round) and go up to 50. From the perspective of Ayurveda Summer is a season of Pitta dosha; associated with qualities like hot, oily, sharp, liquid, and light etc. causing symptoms such as inflammation, acid indigestion, rashes, acne, burning eyes, agitation, frustration, and anger.

However, it is possible to keep the body in harmony by bringing small changes in your exercise/ Yoga routine. For example, including Shitkari or Shitali Prayanam will work for one and all! This Pranayama harmonizes the qualities of pitta, helping to calm, cool, and relax your mind and body. Shitali releases excess heat in summers that tends to rise with the heat of the sun, i.e. in the first half during the day. A few rounds of Shitali in the morning will prepare you to face the day.

Shitali breathing technique is simple to learn and practice; and immediately shows the cooling down effect on your mind and body. To do this Pranayama select a quiet place/corner, balance your weight as you stretch your spine to sit erect and relaxed. Rest your hands on your lap with palms facing up.

Stick your tongue out and roll the outer edges together, inhale into the moisture, from the tube of your tongue. This act sends a cool breeze inside your body. Pay attention to the flow of your breath and try to feel the breath at the tip of your nose. Inhale slowly.  Hold your breath to the count of three. Draw your tongue back into mouth, close your lips and exhale through your nose, ditto, to the count of three.  You can watch instructional videos or learn under an instructor.

Benefits you experience after practicing Shitali Pranayama are amazing!