Definition - What does Sitkari mean?

Sitkari is a Sanskrit word that means “sipping” or “hissing.” The term is typically used to describe a type of pranayama, or yogic breathing exercise. Of the many types of pranayama, sitkari is sometimes categorized as a kumbhaka, or pranayama with breath retention. In sitkari pranayama, the breath is drawn in through the mouth with closed teeth.

Sitkari pranayama and a similar practice, sitali pranayama, are referred to as the cooling pranayamas because they have cooling or soothing effects on the body, unlike other forms of pranayama that are designed to warm the body.

Yogapedia explains Sitkari

Sitkari pranayama is recommended for yogis who have difficulty practicing sitali pranayama, in which the breath is drawn in through a curled tongue as if through a straw.

In yoga, sitkari pranayama can be used to regulate the body temperature and calm the mind after asana practice. It is particularly useful in hot temperatures.

Sitkari and sitali pranayama are 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.

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