This yogic breathing practice can help lower your body temperature and relax your thoughts. It has an overall calming effect on the nervous system, reducing anxiety and agitation. It helps improve focus and reduce high blood pressure. According to some, it cultivates a love of solitude – but that may be because you’re sticking your tongue out like a taco.
For those of us in SoCal with the pending heatwaves and wildfire season, this breath is a must-have. It brings cooling, moistened air into your lungs as needed. It brings down a pitta imbalance, which can build during the summer months.
For this practice, allow your breathing to lengthen. Don’t force your breath to be as slow as possible, but let it naturally take plenty of time. Sitali breathing has you sipping cooling air through a straw. If you try to rush it, you’re only going to make your lungs frustrated.
- Sit comfortably and in an upright position. This is an especially good practice for virasana (hero pose).
- Bring your lips into the shape of an O. Stick out your tongue and curl the edges together, like making a taco or a tube.
- If your tongue doesn’t curl into a tube, you can instead simply purse your lips.
- Inhale through your mouth
- Exhale through your nose
- Continue breathing in this way for at least a few minutes.
Variation (especially for dry desert air): at the end of each inhalation, send the tongue back into the mouth to press up against the roof of the mouth. This can whet the tongue and coolness to the upper palette.
In Kundalini yoga, it’s recommended that you perform this practice 26 times in the morning, and another 26 at night. If you’re at the tail end of a warming yoga session, I’d recommend at least 10 rounds. If you’re hiking out in the desert, apply as needed – I could only do groups of three breaths the last time I was at Vasquez Rocks!
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you had a pleasant time checking out the plants. If you’re in the mood for more nature, please stay in touch!