Sheetali Pranayama is also called “cooling Breath”. This is practiced after practicing other yoga asanas & pranayama. The meaning of “sheetali” in Sanskrit is “cooling”. Sheetali pranayama is practiced to cool the body. Sheetali pranayama has been mentioned in a text book of yoga “Hath Yoga Pradeepika” and “Gheranda Samhita”. This pranayama involves the folding of tongue in the form of a tube while sitting in sukhasana position. It may be difficult for some people to fold their tongue in the form of a tube.
To start with you should sit comfortably in an asana while keeping the palms on the knees. Then the tongue should be rolled from both the sides so that it takes the form of a narrow tube. The tongue should be folded from both the sides so that the edges almost touches at the top at the centre. Now breathing in slowly you should fill the abdomen first then fill the chest and at last fill the neck region. This completes the yogic breathe. Then close the mouth after pulling the tongue inside the mouth. Now the neck should be bent forward to do the chin lock. This is also known as “Jalandhara Bandha”. Hold the breath as long as comfortably possible. Now release the Jalandhara Bandha and release the breath slowly through your nose. This is a complete round of sheetali pranayama. You can do as many rounds of sheetali pranayama as you like to do comfortably.
Benefits of Sheetali Pranayama
- A cooling effect is created on the body by the pulling action of the air through the tongue.
- Sheetali pranayama relaxes the mind and the body.
- As per the Hath Yoga Pradeepika, sheetali pranayama can cure high blood pressure, enlarged spleen, disorder of the bile, fever and colic.
- Sheetali pranayama is able to remove thirst and hunger.
- The text in Gheranda Samhita says that sheetali pranayama is giver of Bliss and removes bilious disorder, phlegm and indigestion.
Precautions while doing Sheetali Pranayama
A person suffering from cold and /or fever should avoid sheetali pranayama as it is counterproductive. Moreover, the practicing of Sheetali Pranayama without the guidance of a yoga teacher may be harmful to the body.