Prana, channeling the life force is one of the most important practices in yoga. Pranayama is a way of controlling Prana. It means you used breathing techniques to channel the flow of energy. The way you breathe can effect several body systems including emotional, digestive, psychological, and physiological.
The cooling breath, Sheetali Pranayana, is said to have a cooling and calming effect on the body and indirectly on the mind.
We will take a look at the traditional method of the cooling breath.
1. Curl up the sides of your tongue and stick the tip outside of your lips. (Don’t be concerned it you can’t roll your tongue. There is a variation that will work for you.) Use your teeth to gently keep your tongue in place. Try and keep your lips as relaxed a s possible.
2. Slowly inhale through your mouth. Your mouth may become dry. If this happens, be patient and slow it down more.
3. In a more advanced method breath is retained and the chin is locked against the collarbone. This is referred to as Jalandhara Banda.
Now for those of us, who don’t have a tongue that curls, keep your tongue inside your mouth floating. Don’t let it touch your teeth or gums.
Besides temperature regulation, this technique is said to reduce mental tension and emotional excitation. It relaxes your muscles, tones the liver and spleen, and it purifies the blood. It may also help in the stemming acidity of the stomach and blood pressure.
Cool off and enjoy.