I feel lucky that I was part of Yoga group where I learned a lot about various asanas and the breathing techniques. One of the breathing exercises that the group used to focus was Sheetkari Pranayama.
This is a breathing technique which is done after doing all the asana and breathing techniques. It has a cooling effect upon the whole body.
Apart from cooling effect, this Pranayama helps in combating the stress.
Sanskrit meaning of Sheetkari Pranayama
Sheetkari can be translated as a pranayama in which a shee sound is produced.Shee: ‘Sound of shee’, Kari: ‘that which produced’.
Pranayama( Prana :Breath or Life force & ayama means to extend or draw out).
Here the breathing is done through mouth.
How to do Sheetkari Pranayama or The Hissing Breath
• Sit in a comfortable position, either in Varjasana or Padmasana ( Lotus pose).
• Put your palms on your knees.
• Now clench your teeth and open your lips in such a way that the teeth can be seen.
• Now inhale slowly, fill your abdomen, then chest and finally feel the air feeling the neck region.
• While doing the inhalation, a hiss sound is produced which is similar to hissing of a snake or c ..c…c sound. You will feel the coolness at the back of your throat.
• Now do Jalandhara Bandha in which you have to bend the neck forward to lock the chin.
• Now hold the breath for some time and try to hold till you are comfortable.
• Now release the lock of the chin or the Jalandhara Bandha and come back to the initial position.
• Exhale slowly through the nose.
• This whole process is one round of Sheetkari Pranayama.
• Repeat as many round as you can. It can be done for 20-30 minutes also.
Benefits of Sheetkari Pranayama – The Hissing Breath
• This is the breathing exercise which is good for the teeth and the gums.
• Helps to keep the mouth clean.
• This is one of the best Pranayamas to keep yourself away from stress.
• It controls the hunger, thirst. Provides muscles relaxation and generates a feel of satisfaction. In this way, helps you to keep away from the stress.
• It cools of the body and it is said that it affects brain centers which are associated with temperature regulation.
Precautions to be followed while Sheetkari Pranayama – The Hissing Breath
• People suffering from low blood pressure or asthma, bronchitis should not practice this Pranayama. Also, people having respiratory disorders should refrain from this practice.
• People having chronic constipation should avoid this breathing exercise.
• Avoid it during cold weather as it cools the body.One of the Pranayamas recommended during summer times.
• People having arthritis are also not advised to practice this.
• People having heart history should contact doctor before practicing this breathing exercise.