Cooling Breath

Definition - What does Cooling Breath mean?

The cooling breath is a technique used in yoga to regulate the body temperature and calm the mind, and is particularly useful in hot weather. It is a form of pranayama, or yogic breathing exercise. The cooling breath is typically employed after asana practice and differs from many other types of pranayama that are intended to warm the body.

The cooling breath is also recommended by Ayurveda as a treatment for a pitta dosha imbalance. The pitta dosha is the body bio-element that controls metabolism, energy production and digestion.

Yogapedia explains Cooling Breath

There are two main forms of pranayama that employ the cooling breath.

  • Sitali pranayama is most often associated with the cooling breath because sitali translates as “cooling” or “soothing.” To practice sitali pranayama, the tongue is rolled and then the breath is drawn in through the tongue as if through a straw.
  • Sitkari pranayama is practiced with the mouth open, but the teeth closed. The breath is drawn in through the teeth, creating a hissing or sipping sound; hence, the name, sitkari, which translates as “sipping.” This cooling pranayama is recommended for yogis who find it difficult to roll the tongue.

Because of its cooling effect, these forms of cooling breath are believed to benefit the nervous system and endocrine glands. The cooling breath is also thought to have the following additional benefits:

  • Reduces excess bile
  • Reduces fever
  • Controls hunger and thirst
  • Lessens stress
  • Relaxes the body and mind

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