Sheetali Pranayama Breathing Exercise for Stress & Anger Management

Breathing Exercise for Reducing Stress 

Sheetali Pranayama: Hatha Yoga Breathing Exercise #6

Free Online Video of Sheetali Yoga Pranayama

(Video #5 of the Online Yoga Breathing Exercises Video Series)



What is Sheetali Pranayama:

Sheetali Pranayama is Yoga’s answer to heat, stress, anger and irritation.  Sheetal means calmness and peacefulness and those are the results of practicing this cooling breath.  I recently undertook the practice of Sheetali Pranayama when an internal heat imbalance took place within my body and I am happy to report that the energies within have been cooled and equilibrium has been restored.

Sheetali Pranayama comes directly from the traditional schools of Hatha Yoga, but, it was also taught to me in my Kundalini Yoga training and is a widely used breathing technique to combat Ayurveda’s Pitta (Heat: see Introducing Ayurveda – Alternative Medicine for Self Healing) related issues.  Sheetali is another pranayama worth having in your repertoire and its simplicity makes it possible to do anywhere and an anytime.

Below are the details of Sheetali Pranayama.

Benefits of Sheetali Pranayama:

Primary benefits of Sheetali Pranayama:

  • Cools the mental, physical and emotional systems and reduces internal heat.
  • Reduces stress and creates a sense of tranquility and peace.
  • Reduces anger and irritation promoting calm.
  • Reduces fever.
  • Combats other Pitta related disturbances such as acidity, burning eyes, heat rash etc.

Secondary benefits of Sheetali Pranayama:

  • Stimulates and assists in digestion.
  • Helps combat restlessness and helps induce sleep.

Cautions for Sheetali Pranayama:

There are not many cautions for practicing Sheetali Pranayama.  Since it’s a cooling breath it will increase Kapha (mucus) so don’t practice it if you have cold and respiratory related issues.  Also, in winter don’t overdo it to avoid exacerbating Kapha and excessively cooling the system.

Instructions for Beginner’s Sheetali Pranayama:

To practice Sheetali pranayama sit up in a comfortable position, you are also practice this breathing exercise standing up or lying down.  The instructions below are for if you are sitting, but, for other positions only slight modifications should be needed.

  • Elongate your spine upwards, lengthen your neck and subtly bring your chin back and in like a soldier at attention.  This will align the spine with the back of your head.
  • Close your eyes and place your hands on your knees.
  • Now curl the sides of your tongue up to create a tunnel and slowly breathe in through your mouth allowing the air to pass over your tongue thus creating a cooling sensation.
  • After you inhale, bring the tongue back in and exhale through the nose.  Then again stick the curled tongue out and repeat.
  • Do 10 repetitions.  One breath cycle of inhalation and exhalation makes 1 repetition.

Instructions for Intermediate Sheetali Pranayama:

The only change for intermediate Sheetali Pranayama is to increase the number of repetitions from 10 up to 50.

Modification for Sheetali Pranayama:

The key to Sheetali Pranayama is the cooling of the air as it passes through the curled tongue, unfortunately, not everyone can curl their tongue in this manner.  If you fall into this category just curl the sides of you tongue up as far as possible and breathe in allowing the air to flow over the tongue to create the coolness as best as possible.

Secret of Sheetali Pranayama: 

According to Yoga lore, The Fonz (Fonzie from the TV show Happy Days) practiced Sheetali Pranayama in secret and it was the reason why he was so cool :-).

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23 replies
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  1. hitesh
    hitesh says:

    hi subodh ji…
    all the three doshas (vata, pitta & kapha) can be balanced by anulom vilom pranayam.
    Anulom Vilom Pranayam is one of the
    best and easy breathing exercises for complete purification of body as well as mind.
    If practiced regularly with full devotion for 15
    –20 minuts per day, anulom vilom intensifies
    the inner strength of body and enhances the
    unknown powers of mind.

  2. Subodh
    Subodh says:


    I am suffering from Kapha type allergies ( Mucus production ) and Vata/Pitta type Irritable bowel syndrome.
    From reading articles on the internet I found that there is no pranayam technique for balancing all the three doshas. Like Sheetali pranayam balances pitta but increase kapha sameway kapalabhati pranayam balances kapha but increases pitta. How can I balance all the three doshas. I haven’t practiced much pranayam so this is just the information I got from internet.

    can you suggest what pranayam I can do for both Allergies and Irritable bowel syndrome.

    I have tried both ayurvedic/homeopathic/allopathic medicines but none are able to completely cure the disease.So I am looking for yoga.

    i am not able to sit cross legged in pranayam for long time .My leg pains.Can I do pranayam by sitting in chair.

  3. Indu
    Indu says:

    Hi there,
    I was actually trying to find some yoga poses for pitta body types…i’ve developed an ulcer in my stomach and it has really reduced my energy levels by half as well as my life….and just the constant agonizing burn and pains…i’m growing tired of it and have decided to put together something on my own…looking up cooling foods that heal ulcers and some proper (with videos or images not simply instructions) yoga postures. It would be a great relief if you’ve got some more videos such as the “Hidden lotus, Sitkari pranayama,Boat, Bow, Locust, Seated twists, Cobra. I watched the Sheetali breathing video and i will practice it everyday henceforth. I would also like to know how to go about doing the Chandra Namaskar (moon salutation) it’s good for pitta types. Thank you so much for taking the time in reading this and i would appreciate any amount of help. Thank You.
    Kind Regards,


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