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Beat the Heat with Sheetali and Sheetkari Pranayama

The method of breathing by mouth (similar to a python's breathing) is called Sheetali and Sheetakari Pranayama. When a python takes deep breath by opening the mouth, hens, rabbits, kids of deer are easily sucked in with the air and it has the capacity to digest it. Sheetali and Sheetakari Pranayamas are also like this.

Both these breathing techniques (Pranayama) are helpful in cooling the system & are especially recommended for summer season. Practicing these Pranayama not only cools the body’s core temperature but also the mind thus making one feel serene, peaceful and calm in a moment. When you are feeling thirsty and water is unavailable, just five rounds of one of these two pranayama will alleviate your thirst..





Sit in a steady and comfortable posture (cross-legged on the floor) or in the lotus posture (cross-legged on the floor with your feet on your thighs and the soles facing upwards) or in Vajrasana. It can also be practised by sitting on a chair, a sofa or even while driving a car. Keep your spine and head erect. You can keep your hands on the knees in Gyan Mudra Posture (join the tips of the index fingers to the tips of the thumbs while keeping the other fingers extended & loose). Close your eyes gently. Relax all the muscles. Make sure the body and mind are relaxed.


• Open your mouth & stretch your tongue outside the lips

• Fold the tongue like a pipe from both the sides.

• Inhale gently, not forcefully, through the folded tongue with opened eyes (good for eyes) with the hissing sound like ...c...c...c & feel the coolness at the back of the throat.

• Then take the tongue inside your mouth and close the lips firmly.

• Hold the breath as long as possible with closed eyes.

• Very – very slowly exhale through the nose without opening your mouth & feel the coolness of the breath penetrating into the brain & spreading out into your entire nervous system.

• This is one round. Make 15-20 rounds like this.

• The practice of Sheetali Pranayama can be done fearlessly for 20-30 minutes.


The practice of Sheetali Pranayama before sunrise increases memory and intelligence. This Pranayama refreshes the body, mind & purifies the blood. Those people who feel tired, lazy and sleepy while getting up in the morning or even during the day, must practice this pranayama. It removes excess heat in the body & cools the system thus reducing anger, anxiety and stress. By purifying the blood, it beatifies the skin, brightens the face and brings lustre in the eyes. This is also good for high BP, constipation, indigestion, acidity, ulcers, fever, skin disease and spleen enlargement. It harmonizes the secretions of reproductive organs and all the endocrine system. He, who practises this Pranayama regularly, will not be affected by poison and viral infection.


• Avoid this pranayama in extreme cold weather. Also avoid if having cold, cough, asthma, tuberculosis, breathing problem, lung disorder, arthritis, low blood pressure or chronic constipation problems.
• Those with heart problems should consult a Yoga expert or a Doctor before attempting Sheetali Pranayama.


Sheetkari is a variation of Sheetali Pranayama. Those people who cannot fold the tongue they can do Sheetkari Pranayama. it is a genetic problem and they have to practice Sheetkari Pranayama only.


• Open the lips & fold the tongue inward towards the throat.

• Touch the tip of the tongue against the upper palate.

• Keep the upper and lower teeth together.

• Inhale deeply & gently through the teeth with opened eyes with a sound like...c...c...c & feel the coolness at the back of the throat.

• Then keep the lips closed & relax the tongue.

• Hold the breath as long as you can, with closed eyes.

• Slowly – slowly exhale through the nose without opening the mouth & feel the coolness of the breath into your entire nervous system & the mind.

• This is one round. Make 15-20 rounds like this.

• The practice of Sheetkari Pranayama can be done fearlessly for 20-30 minutes.


Both the Pranayamas have same benefits. In addition, Sheetkari keeps the mouth clean and cool, good for teeth, gums & cures pyorrhea.


Persons with high blood pressure may find greater strain in Sheetkari than in Sheetali Pranayama.

Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna

Aum Shanti