When we practice, when we meditate or chant or breathe, we do so most often for ourselves: our own comfort. But we forget our individual impact on the collective.
One frantic person can ignite those around her. Likewise, one calm person can ease a community.
As the heat of summer intensifies, I find myself sharing the instructions for Sitali breath with everyone I encounter. There is an overwhelming need for this breath practice now.
Try it for yourself. What do you discover? A cooler body? Cooler mind? When you practice Sitali breath, do so with the intention of not only cooling and settling your own body and mind, but sharing that cooling energy with the collective. Send it out far and wide to all people and regions in distress from the heat of summer. Practice daily. 11 minutes is preferred. Even 1 minute is sufficient.
Excerpted from Nourish: Ayurveda-inspired 21-day Detox:
- Sitting comfortably, extend the tongue out from the mouth.
- Roll the sides of the tongue by curling the edges upward like a taco shape.
- With this taco-tongue extended, draw a long, slow inhalation deep, down into the belly, like sipping through a straw.
- Pull the tongue back into the mouth and exhale through the nose, long and slow, drawing the belly back toward the spine to empty the breath.
- Extend the taco-tongue and take another slow, complete inhalation. No straining. Relax the belly.
- Exhale again through the nose, drawing the tongue back into the mouth.
The air drawn in should feel cool while the air exiting through the nose releases heat from the body.
Continue this breathing, allowing the inhalations and exhalations to gradually lengthen as you relax and begin to cool down. Closing the eyes will assist with the calming and cooling process.
If you cannot roll up the sides of your tongue:
- Make a small o shape with your mouth.
- Allow your tongue to float in the middle of your mouth, not touching teeth or gums.
- Draw a long slow breath through the o-shaped lips and into the belly.
- Press the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth and exhale through the nose.
Sitali breathing can be done anywhere; however, it is safest to do while seated. Use this breathing practice to pacify pitta conditions: excess heat, including hot flashes in menopause, anger and agitation.
Caution should be used if you are pregnant or have low blood pressure. Discontinue if dizziness occurs.
This article is meant to inform, not diagnose or treat medical conditions. Please consult your health practitioner before beginning an exercise or wellness program.
Calm, cool collective.