This One Weird Trick Will Help You Cool Off and Calm Down Quickly

illustration of sitali breathTipHero


What’s not to love about summer? The days are long. The kids are out of school. It’s vacation time for most of us. But–and this is a big but–it’s really, REALLY hot. Depending on the part of the country you live in, you could be currently experiencing your tenth straight day of triple-digit temperatures and/or humidity so overwhelming, you’ll wonder why you even bother showering anymore.

And to make things worse, with the heat also comes plenty of unfortunate mental side effects, such as sluggishness, confusion, or, if you’re anything like us, extreme irritability. Yep, it’s safe to say that no one really likes to be around us during the height of summer, and we don’t really blame them!

As a matter of fact, our testiness recently got so bad during a particularly hot day that we decided to finally do something about it. So, we did what we all do when we’re searching for answers–we turned to the Internet for advice on the matter. Perhaps unsurprisingly, our search of ‘how to stay cool during summer’ yielded some pretty generic results, but eventually, we came across something pretty compelling.

The post, which is entitled “4 Speedy, Sweat-Free Tricks to Cool Yourself Down” was written by our buds over at Food52 and it includes one intriguing hot weather hack that we had never heard of before. No, it’s not an As Seen on TV contraption or even a refreshing summertime drink, it’s actually a breathing technique called Sitali, otherwise known as “the cooling breath.”

For all of you yogis out there, Sitali is actually part of the Pranayama breathing practices. People experience all sorts of mental and physical benefits from Pranayama, but Sitali, specifically, focuses on doing two very important things: 1) cooling the body and 2) promoting relaxation.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Get into a comfortable position and check the alignment of your neck back and core.
  2. Stick out your tongue slightly and roll in the edges like so…

3. Inhale through the mouth so that you are moving air through the tongue as if you are sipping through a straw.

4. Hold the breath for a moment.

5. Gently exhale out through the nose, making sure that you do so evenly and with control.

6. Repeat several times, or until you feel cooler and calmer.

Pretty nifty, huh? After just a couple of breaths, you should notice that your entire body is cooler and that your mind is clearer.

Now, we know that not everyone is able to roll their tongue up so that it resembles a delicious crepe. If you happen to be one of these folks, we’re happy to tell you that the exercise can be modified. Instead of rolling the tongue into a cylindrical shape, you can just stick your tongue out from slightly parting lips and follow the same breath patterns.

Sitali is yoga that everyone can do, virtually anywhere. So, remember, the next time you’re overheating and stressed, all you need to do is take a moment to breathe, and you’ll feel better in seconds!

We’d love to hear your take on Sitali. Have you tried this exercise before? Do you practice Prayama? If so, do you know of any other breathing exercises that help cool the body down?