Sitali Pranayama

Definition - What does Sitali Pranayama mean?

Sitali pranayama is a yogic breathing exercise that is designed to both calm the mind and cool the body. The term comes from the Sanskrit, sitali, meaning “cooling” or “soothing”; prana, meaning "life force"; and ayama, meaning "extension." To practice sitali pranayama, the tongue is rolled and then the breath is drawn in through the tongue as if through a straw.

Sitali pranayama differs from many other types of pranayama that are intended to warm the body.

Yogapedia explains Sitali Pranayama

In yoga, sitali pranayama can be used to regulate the body temperature and still the mind after asana practice. It is particularly useful in hot weather. Sitali pranayama is also recommended by practitioners of the traditional Indian medicine of Ayurveda as a treatment for a pitta dosha imbalance. The pitta dosha is the body bio-element that controls metabolism, energy production and digestion.

Because of its cooling effect, sitali pranayama is believed to benefit the nervous system and endocrine glands. It is also thought to offer the following benefits:

  • Reduces excess bile
  • Reduces fever
  • Controls hunger and thirst
  • Relieves stress

Yogis who find it difficult to roll the tongue may practice a related cooling pranayama called sitkari, in which the breath is drawn in through the mouth with closed teeth.

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