Day 15: Sheetali and Sheetkari Pranayama (Repost)

Can you imagine the feel of drinking a cold, sweet drink filled with ice cubes up to the rim of a glass. Imagine the cold sensation down your throat. We have all been there and done that. Sounds refreshing, doesn't it? Well, have you ever thought of what happens inside your body after gulping a liquid which is that cold. Ideally, the human body is supposed to be maintained at 37⁰C. Let's say your iced drink is at about 10⁰C, can you picture how hard your system has to work to maintain the temperature of all your internal organs at 37⁰C. If you have some knowledge of heat transfer or even basic science, you would have probably heard of latent heat and that theory applies to the human body as well. Enough said. I agree it's easier said than done. Especially, when the summer heat waves really gets on your last nerves. All I have to say is, we can't change the environment, but we can surely makes better choices. Opting for fruits and practicing the breathing technique that I'm about to teach you can help you omit the need of iced drinks.

Let's discuss sheetali and sheetkari. The only breathing technique/pranayama that I practice. Why? Because, sheetali is the only thing that helps me deal with the excess body heat generated through intense level of practices. It really depends, actually. You're the best person to analyze your body. Some people need heat generating pranayama and some people need cooling pranayama. I leave that decision to you. Probably, get an opinion from a competent instructor before you attempt something new.

Difficulty: Beginners Level

Sheetali

Instructions:
  • Sit in any comfortable meditation posture.
  • Close your eyes and relax the whole body.
  • Extend the tongue outside the mouth without strain. 
  • Roll the sides of the tongue up so that it forms a tube. 
  • Practice a long, smooth and controlled inhalation through the rolled tongue.
  • At the end of inhalation, draw the tongue in, close the mouth and exhale through the nose.
  • The breath should produce a sucking sound.
  • A feeling of icy coldness will be experienced on the tongue, the roof of the mouth and throat
  • This is one round.

Sheetkari 

* For those who are unable to roll the tongue


Instructions:

  • Sit in any comfortable meditation posture.
  • Close the eyes and relax the whole body.
  • Hold the teeth together.
  • Separate the lips, exposing the teeth.
  • The tongue may be kept flat or folded against the roof of the mouth (khechari mudra) 
  • Inhale slowly and deeply through the teeth.
  • At the end of the inhalation, close the mouth.
  • Exhale slowly through the nose in a controlled manner.
  • This is one round.


When to do it?

Practice after asanas and other yogic practices in order to restore temperature balance.

Duration.

With practice, the duration of the inhalation should gradually become longer to increase the cooling effect.
Gradually, increase the number of rounds from 9 to 15. For general purposes, 15 rounds is sufficient; however, up to 60 rounds may be performed in very hot weather.

Precautions.

Do not practice in a polluted atmosphere or during cold weather.

Contra-Indications.

  • People suffering from low blood pressure or respiratory disorders such as asthma, bronchitis and excessive mucus, should not practice.
  • This practice cools down the activity of the lower energy centers and those suffering from chronic constipatio should avoid it. 
  • Generally, this pranayama should not be practiced during winter or in cool climates.

Benefits

  • This practice cools the body and affects important brain centers associated with temperature regulation. 
  • It reduces mental and emotional excitation, and encourages the free flow of prana throughout the body. 
  • It induces muscular relaxation, mental tranquility and may be used as a tranquilizer before sleep. 
  • It gives control over hunger and thirst, and generates a feeling of satisfaction.

I had to skip blogging and posting on day 14 because I was down with a fever, which is so unlikely to happen. It was probably the least expected thing to happen to me. And surprisingly, it only lasted a day. Although I feel okay today, I've decided to take it easy and not strain my body and mind extensively. Hence, I chose to repost an important pranayama due to the intense heat waves we are experiencing here. Well, I'll be back with to my routine and posting regularly tomorrow. Good day everybody!

~M~

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