Sitkari Pranayama (Hissing Breath) is a breath control exercise that generates a cooling effect. Sitali Pranayam and Chandra Bhedana produce the same effect. It is difficult for some people to perform Sitali as they could not roll the edges of their tongue like a tube. Sitkari is comparatively easier to perform than Sitali. It is also one of the eight major types of pranayama. It is always recommended at the end of a long yoga session and after the practices like Agnisar Kriya and Surya Bhedhana Pranayama.
This article explains the meaning of Sitkari, the steps to perform, and also the benefits.
Sitkari Pranayama Meaning
Sitkari Pranayama means hissing breath control technique. It generates a hissing sound during practice. Hence, it gets the name Hissing Breath Pranayama.
Sitkari Pranayama Steps
- Sit in a yoga posture for meditation.
- Then, close your eyes and relax your whole body. Let your breath be slow and long.
- Open your mouth without separating your teeth and inhale through your mouth. This step makes a sound like “Siii”
- At the end of exhalation, close your mouth and exhale through the nose.
- Repeat up to 20 rounds. Take precautions to restrict the rounds as per your requirement. At least, ten rounds are required to see the effects.
- An advanced student may include breath retention and Kechari Mudra suitably.
Sitkari Pranayama Benefits
The benefits of Sitkari Pranayama include both psychical and physical effects.
Similar to Sitali, Sitkari balances the heat generated by a long yoga session. At the end of the Yoga and Pranayama session, one may practice this technique to ward off stress and heat. Both Agnisar Kriya and Surya Bhedana Pranayama generate heat. If you practice Sitali at the end of these practices, it balances the heat.
Also, it is helpful for fever conditions because it reduces the temperature.
Moreover, this breath control technique reduces stress and gives relaxation to the body and the mind. Hence, it is good for people with Blood Pressure and heart-related issues. But, they should always prefer the version without the retention of the breath.
One medical study published in the Journal of Complementary Medicine Research concludes that it helps to combat heat stress by preserving the body’s fluid and better control over the thirst sensation. (Raju Roy, DR. Uday Sankar Ray, 2021). Hence, it may be helpful in conditions like dehydration.
It improves the ventilation of the mouth and nasal passages. Also, airway resistance is improved. (Dr. Ananda `Balayogi Bhavanani).
Further, the practice may induce a mild hypermetabolic state that could help weight control. (Shirley Telles, et al., 2020).
Slow Pranayamas like Sitkari augment cerebral blood flow and oxygenation. Hence, they improve neuronal activities of the brain centers and sympathovagal outflow. (Arkiath Veettil Raveendran, et al., 2018).
Sitkari Pranayama Precautions
It produces a cooling effect on the body especially when there is no retention of breath in place. Hence, you should take care practicing it alone during the winter. If you combine this practice at the end of a long yoga session or after Agnisar Kriya or Surya Bhedana Pranayama, there is no issue.
Select a clean and pollution-free atmosphere.
A newbie should always prefer the basic technique that is without breath retention. Also, the number of rounds should always be taken care of.