Keep Cool with Sitali Breath

Feeling overheated? A popular antidote in the Kundalini Yogi’s toolkit is Sitali breath. In Sanskrit, sitali means cooling and that’s just what this pranayam is. Sitali has been known to break fevers and can help cool you when you’re physically overheated. It can also calm your temper when you’re angry. Relaxing as a practice, Sitali breath benefits the kidneys and adrenals and aids digestion. With regular practice, Sitali can increase vitality, aid detoxification, and regulate sexual energy. Not bad results for 3-5 minutes a day.

How to Practice Sitali Breath


Posture: sit cross-legged on the floor or in a chair with your feet flat against the floor.

Mudra: you can rest your hands in your lap or place them in gyan mudra – tip of the index finger touching the tip of the thumb – with the palms up, hands resting on your knees or thighs, if you are in a chair.

Focus: eyes are closed.

Breath pattern: extend you tongue out of your mouth, past your lips. Make a U shape with your tongue. (Note: not everyone can curl their tongue this way, if you can’t, just make sure you extend your tongue past your lips.) Inhale through the mouth, exhale through the nose. Each inhale and exhale should be slow and complete.

Time: 3 to 5 minutes.

Comments: Initially, as you practice Sitali breath, the tongue might taste bitter. This is an indication that your body is cleansing. Eventually, the taste will become sweet.

Yogi Bhajan taught Sitali breath 30 July 1975. It appears in a number of publications including Praana Praanee Praanayam. Descriptions can also be found at the Library of Teachings and 3HO websites.