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Stay cool, literally! Learn the Sheetali Pranayama!

The How-To and Dos and Don’ts of Sheetali Pranayama

In the past few years, the practice of pranayama has gained wide acceptance around the world.

The therapeutic effects of these breathing exercises and mindfulness it offers has made pranayama a resonant theme among world citizens.

In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, several citizens around the world have adopted a spiritual lifestyle.

With this, yoga and other exercises of well-being have gained momentum.

Pranayama is the practice of breath regulation.

‘Prana’ in Sanskrit translates to energy and ‘Yama’ translates to control.

The sequence of specific inhales, exhales and holds of breath in the pranayama exercises are responsible for the many benefits they reap for the practitioner.

With the recent tweet by the Ministry of Ayush in its efforts to promote Physical and mental well-being, the Sheetali Pranyama has gained public attention.

This breathing exercise helps you manage stress, hypertension and is known for cooling your body and managing body temperature. 

Here is everything you need to know about this exercise!

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What is Sheetali Pranayama?

The word ‘Sheetali’ in Sanskrit literally translates to ‘cooling’.

Hence, the Sheetali Pranayama is a breathing exercise that regulates the body temperature and provides a soothing effect to body and mind.

This exercise has been prominently described in ancient yoga texts like Yoga Kundalyopanishad, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and Gherand Samhitha as one of the most prominent exercise to gain spiritual awakening.

This exercise is usually prescribed to be done after practicing all yoga asanas.

This will help adjust body’s tiredness and calms mind.

How to practice Sheetali Pranayama?

The Sheetali Pranyama is one of the sophisticated forms of Pranyama exercises.

Hence, it is suggestive to be done in a place with no distractions.


Sheetali Pranayama
  1. Sit in a comfortable posture. Preferably in Sukashan, Vajrasan, or Padmasan.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Place your hands on your knees in the ‘Gyan Mudra’ and leave your body loose.
  4. Take your tongue out and twist it in the form of a straw. This should be in the shape of a tube or a pipe.
  5. Breathe slowly through this pipe and let the air pass through the tongue into your mouth and then the throat.
  6. Fill your lungs with the air.
  7. Turn your tongue inward into the mouth and hold it for a few seconds or as long as you are comfortable hold it.
  8. Exhale slowly through the nostrils.
  9. This is one round of Sheetali Pranyama. This can be done a minimum of 4 times.
  10. One can practice up to 10 times for effective regulation of body temperature.


  1. This exercise is not suggestive to people with low blood pressure.
  2. In case you feel dizzy while practicing this exercise, consulting a pulmonologist is suggestive.
  3. This exercise works miracles for people with fever, cold and cough. Nevertheless, it is not suggestive for asthma patients.
  4. One should avoid practicing this exercise during extremely cold winters and extremely cold places.

Benefits of Sheetali Pranayama

1. Reduce Levels of Stress

benefits of Sheetali Pranayama

The US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health has noted that young adults who practiced Sheetali Pranyama and similar exercises have improved their response to stress.

Researchers have speculated that Sheetali regulates the nervous system and controls neuro functions.

The authors of the study linked this effect to increased oxygen intake and the energy it facilitates to vital organs including nerves and brain.

This study has also shown better performance among patients suffering from hypertension and similar diseases.

2. Improves Sleep Quality

Sheetali Pranayama help sleep

The stress reliving effects of Sheetali also helps you in improving sleep quality.

In the long term, Sheetali helps you slow down breathing and heart rate when practiced for an average of 5 mins on a daily basis.

Trusted sources have shown that Sheetali helps to combat obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia and other sleeping disorders.

It also helps in decreasing snoring, daytime sleepiness, and nausea. 

3. Increases Mindfulness

Sheetali Pranayama help peace of mind

Mindfulness is often associated with a person’s ability to be involved in a given moment.

Often, we suffer from our past or worry about the future. Mindfulness helps you combat this problem.

In a study undertaken by Institute of Neuropsychiatry, practitioners of Sheetali and similar exercises displayed better levels of emotional regulation and mindfulness compared to those who do not.

This is mostly due to increased oxygen concentration in the blood stream which fuels the brain cells.

It helps to increase mindfulness and also ability to focus and concentrate.

4. Improves Lung Functions

Sheetali Pranayama help lung

The regulation of breath has a direct effect on the health of lungs.

A 2019 study undertaken by the Institute of Pulmonology has noted that a continuous practice of Sheetali for 6 days improves the performance of lungs under several parameters. 

It also helps to combat asthma, allergic bronchitis and helps in recovery of pneumonia and tuberculosis.

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5. Improves Cognitive Performance

Sheetali Pranayama

Studies have shown that any kind of Pranyama exercise enhances the overall brain functioning.

A 12-week Pranyama improves executive functions of brain including working memory, cognitive flexibility, reasoning skills, perceived level of stress, and reaction time.

Studies have also found that Sheetali increases sensory motor performance and auditory memory.

Other Benefits

  • Helps in cooling the body and relaxes nerves and muscles.
  • Controls high blood pressure.
  • Reduces cigarette cravings.
  • Promotes digestion.
  • Helps resolve disorders like chronic dyspepsia and spleen.
  • Helps cure fever as well as disorders associated with bile.
  • Helps to combat depression.
  • It can be used as a pacifier before sleeping.
  • Regulates the secretion of hormones in the genitals. Reduces mental and emotional effects of excessive lust.

When are you starting your day with Sheetali Pranayama?

Also Read – Yoga Aasans to Increase Immunity

Written by Rohith Sai Stambamkadi

Rohith Sai Narayan Stambamkadi is a law graduate from the Birla School of Law and the founder of Indian Forum for Public DIplomacy (IFPD) and loves writing about Indian culture and lifestyle. He is a keen enthusiast of authentic ideas and an advocate of factual informative content. He writes well-researched articles on ethnic lifestyle and festivals celebrated in our country.

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