Definition - What does Sitali mean?

Sitali is a Sanskrit word that means “cooling” or “soothing.” The term is typically used to describe a type of pranayama, or yogic breathing exercise. In sitali, the tongue is rolled and then the breath is drawn in through the tongue as if through a straw. Sitali pranayama is so-called because it has a cooling or soothing effect on the body, unlike other forms of pranayama that are designed to warm the body.

Yogapedia explains Sitali

In yoga, sitali pranayama can be used to regulate the body temperature and calm 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.

Sitali and a related pranayama, sitkari, are often referred to together as the cooling pranayamas. A yogi who finds it difficult to roll the tongue may practice sitkari, in which the breath is drawn in through the mouth with closed teeth.

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