A few days ago, I was roasting, stifled, sweating, stuck in traffic with a long drive ahead. Then again the next day and the day after that. Uncomfortable, but resigned to a seemingly oppressive situation, I wanted to feel a little more contentment and a little brighter.
And then I remembered I could practice Shitali pranayama, right then, right there.
Anytime you find yourself getting over-heated, whether on a hot day or after vigorous activity, try cooling down with this pranayama exercise.
1 – Find a comfortable seated position where you can sit with a long spine (the car was a fine place for me!)
2 – Take a few deep breaths through the nose to relax and center yourself, shifting awareness to the breath
3 – Roll your tongue, curling the sides in towards the center to form a tube. If you cannot roll your tongue, purse the lips to make a small “o” shape with the mouth instead. Stick the end of the tongue out between your pursed lips
4 – Inhale through the mouth, letting the breath move through/over the tongue
5 – Exhale through the nose
6 – Repeat 5-10 times
Notes: Be gentle with yourself; do not force the breath. As with any pranayama exercise, if you begin to feel light-headed return to normal breathing.