Berenice Mertens is a 26-year-old French traveller, life lover and yoga & meditation teacher. After leading a “normal life” in Sweden (studies, working in the tech industry…) she left everything to follow her passion, travelling to India and getting certified in yoga, meditation and ayurveda. Now as she builds her business back in Europe, Berenice is spreading the word about yoga and the teachings she learnt.
What if I told you that just through a simple breathing exercise you could calm the mind, reduce insomnia, decrease stress and also control high blood pressure, would you believe me?
Thanks to Sheetali (the breathing exercise, not the name of a new fancy detox tea) you can.
Pranayama is one branch of yoga. ‘Prana’ in Sanskrit means breath or life energy. And ‘ayama’ means control or expansion. It is both the control of the breath and the expansion of life energy within our bodies. And believe or not, but Pranayama works wonders on our mental health and body. As well as the benefits I mentioned above Sheetali is a great way to:
- Naturally cool down our body temperature. Performing Sheetali affects the part of the brain that regulates your temperature.
- Calms the mind
- Long-term practice can decreases anger outbursts, stress and anxiety levels
- Purify the blood and help hyperacidity issues
- Control high blood pressure
- Ease indigestion and fever
Have I convinced you to try it yet? Only two minutes of Sheetali are necessary and you can do it anywhere.
- Sit comfortably: either in a cross legged position. Or folded knees sitting back on your heels. Or simply in a chair. Hands resting on your knees and making sure your spine is straight (very important!) Your chest should be slightly pushed forward and your shoulders down and relaxed.
- Close your eyes and swallow your saliva.
- Focus on your tongue and roll your tongue so that you make a tube shape with your tongue. Your tongue should be out of your mouth.
- If you cannot roll your tongue (apparently only 70% of people are able to do it), form a small ‘O’ with your lips.
- Start with an inhalation through your rolled tongue deeply.
- Pause and retain your breath for 1-2 seconds (or more if you feel comfortable).
- Exhale deeply through your nose. You can keep your rolled tongue out or in your mouth.
- At the end of the exhalation you can pause and retain your breath for 1-2 seconds. You have performed one round of Sheetali.
I would recommend doing at least 10 rounds of Sheetali to feel its effects. And to meditate for a bit straight after, with your eyes closed and hands resting on your knees. What are the sensations in your body? In your mind? How do you feel? Do you feel fresher and cooler? Try to experience the effects of Sheetali and slowly come back to the present moment.