The southern hemisphere is in the grips of a blistering summer and even though here on the Northern Beaches of Sydney we are luckier than most with the sea breezes and the ocean at our doorstep, it hasn’t been uncommon for the mercury to hit 38 degrees leaving us flat, fatigued and desperate for relief.
The word “sheetali” means cooling in Sanskrit, it is taken from the original word “Sheetal” which means soothing or cold. The practice of sheetali reduces the stress or fight – flight response. It cools the body and mind and may help to lower blood pressure. Sheetali breath may also have a positive effect on the endocrine glands and nervous system, reduce excess biles and help to reduce fever. It has a calming effect on the nervous system , stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system which induces muscular relaxation and is effective in stress management.
In this pranayama the tongue is rolled in a specific manner. (See figure at top) But many people can not roll their tongue in this fashion. For these people instead of rolling the tongue purse the lips as if sipping through a straw.
- Beginners can start with deep breathing practice in sitting position. Any Cross legged position in which the body can be relaxed and spine is erect.
- Then start inhaling through mouth by rolling the tongue, make sure that the air passing in is cooled via tongue.
- Initially 4 seconds inhale through mouth while rolling the tongue and exhale for 6 seconds through both nostrils, this can be practiced for about 5 minutes.
- With practice one can increase the counts to 4:8, or 5:10 or 6:12 seconds
- If you have Low Blood pressure then this pranayama can bring it further down.
- You may feel little cold or tingling sensation in the throat due to cold air but this is normal.
- If you feel dizzy then please stop the practice and continue normal breathing.
Jenny Tuck teaches yoga/pilates at our Mona Vale center
Tuesdays 9.30 am
Saturdays 9.45 am