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Yoga and Pranayama all are the cultural heritage of India. “Pranayama is control of Breath”. “Prana” is Breath or vital energy in the body. On subtle levels prana represents the pranic energy responsible for life or life force, and “ayama” means control. So Pranayama is “Control of Breath”. One can control the rhythms of pranic energy with pranayama and achieve healthy body and mind.
What is Pranayama?
Patanjali in his text of Yoga Sutras mentioned pranayama as means of attaining higher states of awareness, he mentions the holding of breath as important practice of reaching Samadhi. Hatha Yoga also talks about 8 types of pranayama which will make the body and mind healthy. Five types of prana are responsible for various puranic activities in the body, they are Prana, Adana, Vyan, Udana & Samana. Out of these Prana and Apana are most important. Prana is upward flowing and Apana is downward flowing. Practice of Pranayama achieves the balance in the activities of these pranas, which results in healthy body and mind.
Here, we will be discussing about one of the most important Pranyama called ‘Sheetali Pranayama‘. As the name itself says, ‘Sheetal‘ it provides you comfort and coolness. Well, this is the winter season but it is quite beneficial to you.
Sheetali Pranayama or the cooling breath is usually done after practicing other asanas and pranayamas. Sheetali Pranayama cools the body. Sheetali in Sanskrit means ‘cooling’. Sheetali pranayama is mentioned in the yoga texts Hatha Yoga Pradeepika and Gheranda Samhita. It is also called cooling breath which means that it provides coolness to your body as well as the mind.
Steps for Cooling effects of Sheetali Pranayama :
In order to do the Pranayama, you need to follow the following listed steps perfectly.
- Sit in a correct and comfortable, crossed-leg pose.
- Take two or three deep inhales and exhales through your nose in preparation.
- Roll your tongue, curling the sides in towards the center to form a tube.
- Stick the end of the tongue out between your pursed lips.
- If you can’t roll your tongue, just purse your lips making a small “o” shape with your mouth.
- Inhale through the tube of the tongue and exhale from the nose.
- Repeat this for 5-10 times as you feel a cooling effect.
Benefits of Sheetali Pranayama:-
This very pranayama has multiple benefits, some of them are listed as follows.
- Doing this helps to reduce stress and also curbs anxiety.
- Sheetali pranayama has also the potency to cure colic, spleen enlargement, fever and bile disorders too.
- It creates a cooling effect in the body which helps to erase excess heat which is really harmful.
- It is a kind of meditation which calms your mind and connects it to the universal energy.
Contradictions for Sheetali Pranayama:-
- If you suffer from respiratory conditions such as asthma, wheezing or bronchitis, please avoid this practice.
- If your body type has a cold disposition characterized by excessive mucus secretion, this Pranayama should be avoided.
- Chronic constipation sufferers should refrain from this practice.
- Those with severe heart problems should avoid it.
- It should also be avoided and should not be practised in unfavourable conditions such as climate change.
So, in this way we saw the description of Sheetali Pranayama. Take care and live well!