I don’t know about where you are but here we’ve been having, what for us, has been hot weather. It’s over now and so probably is our summer but nevertheless the weather has prompted this yoga blog.
During warm weather one of the breathing techniques practised to cool down the body and calm the mind is Sitali Pranayama. This technique involves breathing through the mouth with the tongue curled like a tube with a slight extension of the tongue over the lips, as in the picture on the right.
The technique was taught to me by my first yoga teacher in 1972 and he pointed out that not all people were able to ‘curl’ the tongue in such a way and that modifications would be necessary. I can testify to this as many of the people I have taught over the years have not been able to curl their tongues. People who find the ‘curl’ difficult can either fold the tongue up behind the top row of teeth so creating a sidewaays tube, or purse the lips to form a small hole.
Some of the benefits to be gained from the practice are firstly a cooling effect on the body, mind and temper. It also helps to aid concentration and induce a sense of calm.
To start the practice, sit comfortably (on a chair or on the floor) with your back straight, eyes closed and mind focused. Form a tube or alternative and slowly deeply inhale. Close your mouth and exhale through your nose. Repeat comfortably for about 6 minutes, don’t overdo the practice, you only want to feel cool, not cold. Afterwards sit, reflect, relax and notice how you feel.