Sheetkari Pranayama or the Hissing Breath is ususally done after practicing other asanas and pranayamas. Sheetkari Pranayama cools the body. Sheetkari pranayama is mentioned in the yoga text Hatha Yoga Pradeepika.
Sheetkari is very similar to Sheetali Pranayama. In Sheetkari, the tongue is not rolled into a tube; instead, it is rolled up to touch the upper palate. The teeth are then clenched and the lips are kept apart. Those who find it difficult to do Sheetali Pranayama can easily practice Sheetkari and get similar benefits.
Do not do Sheetkari pranayama if you are suffering from a cold. But if you are in a hot environment, it is ideal for cooling the body.
How to do Sheetkari Pranayama (The Hissing Breath)?
- Sit in a comfortable asana with palms on the knees.
- Roll the tongue upwards so that the lower part of the tongue touches the upper palate.
- Clench the teeth together. Pull the lips apart so that the teeth are exposed.
- Breathe in slowly. First fill the abdomen, then the chest and finally the neck region. This is the complete yogic breath. When breathing in, a slight hissing sound is produced. This is similar to the hissing of a snake.
- Bend the neck forward to do the chin lock, also called the Jalandhara Bandha
- Hold the breath for some time, as much as you are comfortable
- Release Jalandhara Bandha and exhale slowly through the nose.
- This is one round of Sheetkari Pranayama. One can do as many rounds as you may feel comfortable.
Benefits of Sheetkari Pranayama (the Hissing Breath)
- The action of pulling the air through the teeth creates a cooling effect on the body.
- Sheetkari relaxes the body and the mind.
- According to Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, Sheetkari removes hunger, thirst, sleep and lassitude.
- Sheetkari is good for health of teeth and the gums.