July 5, 2012

Cool Breath (Sheetali Pranayama)

Sheetali Pranayama (Cool Breath). It's July and the majority of the US is having dangerous heat conditions in the mid 90s and higher. Cool Breathing is one small way to help cool the body.

Sheetali means cooling in Sanskrit. If you practice Sheetali Breathing it cools the body, calms the mind, reduces stress and lowers blood pressure. It also has a calming effect on the whole nervous system. Stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, which induces muscle relaxation.

For the set up; roll the tongue or curl the sides so they come up and together to form a tube and sticking the end of the tongue out between pursed lips. You may not be able to roll the tongue and it's nothing you have control over, it's genetic. If this is the case you will purse the lips like your drinking from a straw. Inhaling through the mouth making sure the air passes over the tongue feeling it's coolness and exhaling through the nose.

To begin the Cooling Breath practice, sit in a comfortable seated position, roll the tongue or purse the lips inhaling for a length of 4 seconds through the mouth with the breath coming across the tongue, release the tongue back into the mouth and exhale through the nose for 6 seconds, a count of 4:6. You can continue this breath practice for 5 minutes. With practice you can increase the counts to 4:8, 5:10 or 6:12 but do not force the breath.

Avoid this breath practice if pregnant, respiratory conditions, low blood pressure. If you become anxious, irritable or dizzy stop the practice and come back to your normal breath.

Stay cool with the Cooling Breath.

Happy & Healthy,
Yoga Chuck

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