Sitali pranayam is a well known practice. It refers to the sound caused when air is drawn or inhaled in through the protruding tongue that is curled into a tube. During the inhale phases, a cooling sensation is felt over the tongue and into the throat which refreshes and relaxes the mind and body.
To perform Sitali, sit comfortably in any meditative posture. As you sit tall, place both palms on the knees in Gyan Mudra (thumb and index finger connected). Allow the tongue to draw out and comfortably fold it up from the sides to form a tube. Slowly inhale bringing the air through the tongue and feel the lungs expand completely. After the full inhalation, withdraw and relax the tongue. Close the mouth and then slowly exhale through the nose.
Repeat this pattern of breathing bringing focus to the hissing sound Sitali creates and to the cool sensations felt by the tongue. Start this practice with several breaths and feel how your body responds. With regular practice, you may feel comfortable to increase the duration to 52 breaths.
Often, one will experience a bitter taste when practicing Sitali. This bitter taste is an indication of toxins being released. As you continue to practice Sitali regularly, the taste of the tongue will change from bitter to sweet.
Benefits of Sitali:
*cools and soothes the nervous system – area of the 4th, 5th, and 6th vertebrae
*reduces headaches, tension and high blood pressure
*regulates sexual and digestive energy
*rejuvenates and detoxifies-good for liver and spleen
*develops focus and concentration