Your body is a machine.
You were born fully equipped with an intricate system of pumps and blood and hormones that keeps your body alive.
Not just alive….but balanced.
It’s easy to believe that we’re lacking, that we need to do something — actively, fiercely — in order to find homeostasis.
The truth is: the body is made to be balanced. In fact, the body craves balance.
Your inner systems are continuously working to create equilibrium. When you are sick, your body produces white blood cells and heat (fever) to fight infection. When you are scared or excited, your heartbeat and circulation increase to send more blood to your limbs and prepare you for action. When you are cold, your muscles might shiver to keep warm.
And when you are hot, your body perspires to cool you down.
Sweating is actually the body’s built-in cooling system.
Have you ever poured water over your head on a hot day? The combination of water and air (two of the five elements) produces a cooling sensation. As the water evaporates, the body releases heat.
Sweat does this for us automatically. Perspiration is released from the skin, evaporates, and takes your excess body heat with it.
Water + Air = Cool
Sitali pranayama is a breath technique that uses this same principle of “water plus air equals coolness.”
To practice sitali, you’ll use the moisture of your tongue to create a cooling sensation in your throat. (P.S. This is actually how dogs release heat too. That tongue-out panting look isn’t just cute, it’s cooling!)
How to Practice Sitali Pranayama
- Curl your tongue into a U-shape and inhale through your mouth.
- Feel like you are sipping cool air into your mouth and lungs.
- Exhale out through your nose.
(Not everyone can curl their tongue, btw, so you can also breathe in through your teeth for the same effect.)
You can also watch my (vintage) tutorial on this technique below.
You can practice sitali pranayama anytime you feel the need to self-cool.
Love and perspiration,
[Photo Credit: smlp.co.uk]