Cool down with Sitali Pranayama

When the heat starts to turn up try these breathing techniques and tips to keep your cool

Cool down with Sitali Pranayama

We love it here in Holland when the sun finally makes an appearance. However when your dosha is Pitta and the heat turns up you may notice some imbalances too. It’s good to be aware of these so you can do something about it.

What is a dosha?

Ayurveda recognises five elements: air, water, earth, wind and fire. We experience these five elements in the environment around us and they are also reflected in our internal climate. These five elements make up the different doshas (or types).

The 3 different Doshas are: Pitta, Vata and Kapha.

We are all a mix between the doshas, but usually one dosha is predominantly present in our system.

What is Pitta?

Pitta is made up of the elements fire and water. Most of us will experience an increase in Pitta during the warmer weather. This means that people whose dosha is already predominantly Pitta will feel the extra effects of overheating in the Summer. They experience excess Pitta and so their dosha becomes out of balance.

Signs of the Pitta dosha being aggravated include irritability, having a shorter fuse than normal (I'm definitely guilty of that, ask my husband..) feeling easily annoyed, experiencing pure anger and so on.

Physically it can show in things like heartburn, excessive sweating, skin rashes, acne and digestive problems/upsets.

So what can you do to cool down Pitta?

Sitali Pranayama / Cooling Breath

Sitali is a kind of breathing technique that cools the body, adds moisture to the system and soothes a Pitta imbalance. It involves curling the sides of your tongue and breathing in through your mouth.

You can start with three minutes of Sitali breath as shown in the video below. Then go back to regular diaphragmatic breathing and then do another three minutes of Sitali breath. Gradually aim to build up to a 10 minute practice everyday. It will help with the physical and mental symptoms of excess Pitta.

You can also end a sweaty yoga practice with Sitali breath to balance the heat you've created.

But what if you can’t curl your tongue?

Lots of people can’t do this, it's just a genetic thing and so if this is the case you can do this alternative cooling technique instead:

Sitkari Pranayama / Hissing Teeth Breath

Sitkari (also spelt Sheetkari) is also a cooling breath technique which refreshes the body and mind. The technique is simply inhaling through the mouth with your teeth closed. Watch José's video for a full demonstration: Beat the Heat with Sheetkari Pranayama

A few other tips to cool down for Pitta dosha:

  • Try to bring more cooling foods in your diet like: watermelon, any other type of melon, strawberries, goji berries, chia seeds, aubergines, cucumber, mint, etc…

  • This Cooling Cucumber Coconut Bowl recipe from Irina is especially for Pitta dosha

  • Swimming helps to pacify the Pitta dosha, if you can't get to the pool use a footbath, or place a cloth soaked with cold water on the back of your neck.

  • Take a walk in the moonlight.

  • Take some time out for outdoor activities - avoiding too much exposure to the sun.

I hope this information will help you to recognise what is happening when Pitta is off balance and give you some ideas about what you can do to minimise the effects of it.



Here's how to do the Sitali breath

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