The pitta dosha consists of the two opposing elements, fire and water. It is the dosha that controls digestion and is known for its transformational properties. Qualities of pitta include hot, oily, sour and sharp.
With our body temperatures running high, the warmer seasons can often leave us feeling a little hot and irritated, a sign that we are experiencing an excess of pitta.
All we need is a little adjustment to our yoga practice and incorporate the cooling breath technique that can help to bring our body temperature down and induce calmness to fight feelings of anger and anxiety.
Cooling Breath (Sheetali Pranayama)
Cooling breath, also known as Sheetali Pranayama is an effective breathing technique that helps to cool the body down and works to improve digestive, nervous and endocrine functions.
A perfect practice to cool the body down and combat stress, “Sheetali,” which means cooling down, also helps to control thirst and hunger and rejuvenates the mind and body.
Cooling Breath Directions:
- Start by sitting in an easy seated position with your back straight and your legs crossed over each other. Place your hands on your knees and relax.
- Inhale deeply and exhale slowly; repeat twice.
- Roll your tongue, curling the sides in toward the center to form a tube.
- Stick out the end of your tongue between pursed lips (your lips should form a small “o”).
- Inhale slowly through the tube of your tongue and exhale slowly through your nose.
- Repeat this breathing technique at least five to ten times.
Benefits of Cooling Breath:
Sheetali Pranayama brings a lot of benefits to the body, especially to the digestive system and endocrine glands.
Added benefits of practicing Sheetali Pranayama regularly include the following:
- Purifies and rejuvenates the blood
- Helpful in healing diseases of the tongue, mouth and throat
- Prevents premature graying and reduces hair fall
- Treats insomnia and promotes a good night’s rest
- Cools the body temperature
- Reduces stress and feelings of anxiety
- Aids in digestion
Cooling Breath Precautions:
There are a few precautions one must take before practicing any new techniques for the first time.
It is best to avoid practicing cooling breath under the following conditions:
- Low blood pressure
- Severe cold and cough
- Not recommended to practice during the winter
Cooling Breath Recap:
Cooling breath is a very effective technique that is great to practice during the summer months when our bodies experience excess heat that leads to health issues and uncomfortable symptoms.
It is best to practice this technique on an empty stomach, preferably when you wake up. Cooling breath is a unique practice that leaves you feeling cool, calm and comfortable.
Updated by Siya Rajan on 07/08/2018
The content of this Website is for informational purposes only, is general in nature and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and does not constitute professional advice. The information on this Website should not be considered as complete and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment. You should consult with your physician before beginning any exercise, weight loss, or health care program and/or any of the beauty treatments.
The Cooling Breath: Sheetali Pranayama to Balance Pitta in Summer. (2016, July 08). Retrieved from https://kripalu.org/resources/cooling-breath-sheetali-pranayama-balance-pitta-summer
R. (2017, October 08). Sheetali Pranayama- Steps & Benefits. Retrieved from https://rakeshyoga.com/pranayama/sheetali-pranayama/#.Wz-kXBJKhTY
About Pitta. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://yogainternational.com/article/view/about-pitta