Sitali (pronounced sit-all-ee) breathing or pranayama is a simple and powerful breathing technique to calm anxiety, ease your stress levels, and quiet your mind. It has a cooling effect on the body and is helpful when we feel our emotions rise up within us strongly. This breath is also helpful if you have trouble sleeping. It also aids in digestion.
This breath can be done sitting up or lying down. It’s so helpful to have such an easy and accessible tool to use whenever you need it!
Pranayama means “to extend vital life force”. One reason that this breathing technique is helpful to us is that it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system as so sends a relaxation response to the brain. The mind quiets. We find our grounding again. When we correctly apply Sitali Pranayam, we move out of the reactive “fight, freeze, or run” mode into our calm center. Using this technique, our stress response adjusts back to a healthy state, increasing our resilience to the challenges of life.
Instructions for Sitali Pranayam:
Curl your tongue into a U shape side to side.
Open your mouth and Inhale through the curled tongue.
Exhale through your nose.
Variation: inhale and exhale through the curled tongue.
Note: You may notice a bitter taste to the tongue at first. It will pass. It is a sign of detoxification.
Instructions from The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, KRI International Teacher Training Manual Level 1, 2003, pg. 97.