Pranayama | General Details

The following details apply to all the three practices: sheetali, sheetkari and kaki mudra.

Awareness

Be aware of the flow and the sound of the breath, as well as the mechanics of the practice. In kaki mudra your awareness must simultaneously be fixed on the nose tip.

Duration and time of practice

You can do the practices for as long as you wish and at any time during the day.

Benefits and utility

Most yogic practices tend to overheat the body. Sheetali and sheetkari pranayama, as well as kaki mudra, on the other hand, cool down the body. They can therefore be done after other yogic practices to restore heat balance in the body. Prolonged practice of pranayama is not generally advisable during hot weather. Sheetali, sheetkari and kaki mudra, however, can be done without fear.

Besides cooling the physical body, these three practices also cool the mind and soothe away mental tension. They are therefore useful for alleviating psychosomatic diseases such as high blood pressure. The practices also purify the blood and improve digestion.

Warning

One of the fundamental laws of yogic practice, and breathing in general, is that one should inhale through the nose if possible. Sheetali, sheetkari and kaki mudra are unique in that they break this law; inhalation is through the mouth instead of the nose. This infringement is acceptable providing you:

  • Do not practise in a dirty, polluted atmosphere
  • Do not practise in excessively cold weather.

The nose heats up and cleans inhaled air before entering the delicate lungs. If you breathe through the mouth then this air conditioning is bypassed. The induction of freezing and/or dirty air directly into the lungs for prolonged periods may cause harm. Therefore, do not practise sheetali, sheetkari or kaki mudra unless you live in reasonably clean, mild surroundings.

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