This is a great breathing exercise if you’re overheating in a hot yoga class or even stressing out in traffic. After a few minutes, or even just a few breaths, you’ll feel the powerful, cooling effects.
I use this technique when I'm stressed or anxious. I once shared it with a group of people that I was trapped in an elevator with. It's effects are felt immediately.
Here are two versions of how to practice Sitali Pranayama. The shape your tongue takes in the second version can be hard at first, so start with the first version if you're having difficulty with the "tongue taco." Good luck!
Version 1: The Straw
1. Purse your lips in a tiny "o" shape, like you’re sipping through a straw. Keep your tongue inside floating, so it doesn't touch teeth or gums.
2. Slowly inhale through your mouth, and feel the cold air.
3. To exhale, use the tip of your tongue softly against the roof of your mouth and slowly exhale out your nose to release heat.
Version 2: Tongue Taco
1. Curl up the sides of your tongue and stick the tip outside your lips. Use your teeth gently to keep tongue in place, with your lips as relaxed as possible.
2. Inhale slowly through the curled tongue sticking out of the mouth.
3. Close your mouth and exhale slowly out through your nose.
Remember, this breathing technique should not cause you to strain or struggle. Give yourself permission to rest any time and enjoy a few quiet moments afterward.