Sitkari Pranayama

Definition - What does Sitkari Pranayama mean?

Sitkari pranayama is a yogic breathing exercise that both calms the mind and cools the body. The term comes from the Sanskrit, sitkari, meaning “sipping” or “hissing”; prana, meaning "life force"; and ayama, meaning "extension." To practice, draw the breath in through the mouth with closed teeth.

Sitkari pranayama and a similar practice, sitali pranayama, differ from most other types of pranayama in that they cool instead of warm the body.

Yogapedia explains Sitkari Pranayama

In yoga, sitkari pranayama can be used to regulate the body temperature and still the mind after asana practice. It is particularly useful in hot weather. Because of its cooling effect, sitkari pranayama is believed to benefit the nervous system and endocrine glands. It is also thought to offer the following additional benefits:

  • Reduces excess bile
  • Reduces fever
  • Controls hunger and thirst
  • Lessens stress
  • Relaxes the body and mind
  • Helps lower blood pressure
  • Benefits those fighting insomnia

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.

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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