What and How - Sitali and Sitkari breath

Breathing - Pranayama

Sitali (shitali - Tongue rolled in) / Sitkari (tongue rolled back)

Inhale - the mouth

Exhale - the nose

A cooling and calming breath

This series introduces sitali, a relaxing yogic breathing practise. One of few mouth-inhaling techniques. If your tongue doesn't curl from sides (it's genetic), try sitkari, which involves splitting the lips and teeth and resting the tongue between the teeth.


Sitali Breath - tongue curled from sides


Sitkeri breath - tongue curled back. Breathe through sides of mouth.

Cools the body, induces relaxation, and calms the mind. Great for when feeling overheated (menopause anyone?) or agitated.

Sitkari regulates the endocrine system and creates vigour, according to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

- Align your head, neck, and spine.

- Close your eyes or have your gaze soft, diaphragmatically (deeper) breathe for several minutes, then create a "O" with your lips.

- Curl the tongue lengthwise and extend it 3/4 inch.

- As though drinking with a straw, inhale deeply across the tongue.

- As the abdomen and lower ribs expand, focus on the cooling breath.

- Close your mouth and exhale through your nostrils.

- Sitali for 2 to 3 minutes, diaphragmatic for a few more, then cooling breath for 2 to 3 minutes. Build up to a 10-minute practise.


- Close your eyes or have your gaze soft.

- Gently squeeze your lower and upper teeth together and separate your lips so your teeth may breathe.


- Curl tongue back against front teeth

- Inhale through the gaps and focus on the hissing sound.

- Exhale slowly via the nose.

- repeat breath up to 20 times.

Sitali and sitkari are best practised in hot conditions or after a vigorous asana or heating pranayama (like bhastrika).

Sitali and sitkari may not be suitable for outside in winter. No matter when you practise, take in air near to body temperature, since the nostrils won't warm the breath. Cold air may irritate the lungs.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or would like to work on a one to one basis for some breath coaching (in person or on-line).

Contact Brenda on 085 1502378 or anandacentre@gmail.com