Sitkari Pranayama

Pranayama is a Sanskrit word that can be translated as “regulation of breath.” There are many different types of pranayama. Sitkari is a great alternative to Sitali, which are both cooling breaths.

Sitkari Pranayama is not only an excellent breathing technique for cooling the body on hot days but can also calm the mind and relieve stress. It can be practiced if you have difficulty rolling your tongue like a straw, which is needed for Sitali. Both Pranayamas have the same effect on the body and mind.

So on days when you’re feeling overheated or stressed out and you are struggling with Sitali Pranayama, give Sitkari Pranayama a try.

Sitkari Pranayama Technique

Sitkari Pranayama can be translated as “hissing breath”. It is achieved by drawing air through the clenched teeth, with the result of cooling the body.

Sitkari Pranayama

How To:

  1. Start in a comfortable seated position, either on a chair or in a cross-legged sitting asana, just make sure that you can sit up straight in this position for some time.
  2. Close your eyes and activate your core.
  3. Take some full deep breaths to focus on your breathing. 
  4. Bring the upper and lower rows of teeth together, whilst opening your lips as wide as you can.
  5. Inhale through your clenched teeth. This will make a hissing sound.
  6. Unclench your jaw again, close your mouth and exhale through your nose.
  7. Inhale and exhale like this 5-8 times.
  8. Afterward, take a couple of deep normal breaths again before opening your eyes.
  9. You should feel a bit more refreshed now.

The Benefits of Sitkari Pranayama

  • Cools the body
  • Helps to relieve anger and irritation
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Regulates Pitta imbalance, especially in the summer months
  • Improves awareness and focus
  • Aids in digestion
  • Can help during hot flushes
  • Balances endocrine system
  • Boosts vitality
  • Is said to calm hunger
  • Helps to reduce fever
  • Can help to reduce high blood pressure 

Contraindications of Sitkari Pranayama

As this breathing technique cools off the body you should not practice this Pranayama on cold days.

Additionally, you should not practice the cooling breath if:

  • You have a cold constitution
  • If it is winter and you have a prone kapha or vata constitution.
  • If you have sensitive teeth and the hissing breathing hurts your teeth.

When to practice Sitkari

After a vigorous and powerful workout or yoga class, this breathing technique can cool you off nicely.

Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed by fiery emotions like irritation and anger it can help to calm you down.

At times when you feel sluggish, you can practice this pranayama to improve your focus or to boost your energy.

Final Thoughts

Sitkari Pranayama is great to cool off our body as well as calm our emotions, it is easy to do, and practicing this only for a short time during the day can provide you with the benefits you need.

So on days when you feel overheated let it be temperature-wise or emotionally, give this cooling breath a try.

Have fun.