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Sheetkari Pranayama - Hissing Breath, How to do Sheetkari Pranayama - Hissing Breath, Benefits of Sheetkari Pranayama - Hissing Breath, Precautions, & a note for yoga practitioners

Sheetkari Pranayama (Hissing Breath)

Sheetkari Pranayama (hissing breath) is one of the key pranayamas. This practice cools the body and affects important brain centres associated with biological drives and temperature regulation. 

How to do Sheetkari Pranayama (Hissing Breath)

Technique I

  • Sit in any comfortable meditation posture. 
  • Close the eyes and relax the whole body. Hold the teeth lightly together.
  • Separate the lips, exposing the teeth.
  • The tongue may be kept flat or folded against the soft palate in khechari mudra.
  • Inhale slowly and deeply through the teeth.
  • At the end of the inhalation, close the mouth.
  • Exhale slowly through the nose in a controlled manner. This is one round.

Duration

  • With practice, the duration of the inhalation should gradually become longer to increase the cooling effect. Gradually increase the number of rounds from 9 to 15. For general purposes 15 rounds is sufficient; however, up to 60 rounds may be performed in very hot weather.

Sheetkari Pranayama (Hissing Breath) Benefits

  • This practice cools the body and affects important brain centres associated with biological drives and temperature regulation. 
  • It cools and reduces mental and emotional excitation, and encourages the free flow of prana throughout the body. 
  • It induces muscular relaxation, mental tranquillity and may be used as a tranquiliser before sleep. 
  • It gives control over hunger and thirst, and generates a feeling of satisfaction.

Precautions while doing Sheetkari Pranayama – Hissing breath

  • Do not practise in a polluted atmosphere or during cold weather. The nose heats up and cleans the inhaled air before it enters the delicate lungs.  However, breathing through the mouth bypasses this air-conditioning and the induction of cold or dirty air directly into the lungs may cause harm.
  • Practise inner retention for a short time only as prolonged kumbhaka has a heating effect.
  • People suffering from low blood pressure or respiratory disorders such as asthma, bronchitis and excessive mucus, should not practise this pranayama. Those with heart disease should practise without breath retention.
  • This practice cools down the activity of the lower energy centres and therefore those suffering from chronic constipation should avoid it. Generally, this pranayama should not be practised in winter or in cool climates.
  • Practitioners with sensitive teeth, missing teeth or dentures should practise sheetali pranayama instead.

Preparatory practices

  1. Natural breathing
  2. Abdominal breathing or diaphragmatic breathing
  3. Thoracic breathing
  4. Clavicular breathing
  5. Yogic breathing

Types of Pranayamas  

  1. Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (Psychic network purification)
  2. Sheetali Pranayama (Cooling breath)
  3. Sheetkari Pranayama (Hissing breath)
  4. Bhramari Pranayama (Humming bee breath)
  5. Ujjayi Pranayama (The psychic breath)
  6. Bhastrika Pranayama (Bellows breath)
  7. Kapalbhati Pranayama (Frontal brain cleansing breath)
  8. Moorchha Pranayama (Swooning or fainting breath)
  9. Surya Bhedi Pranayama (Vitality stimulating breath)

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