Genni Lee Hester

sitali, beyond the summer breath

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Happy Wellness Wednesday!

Before we jump into today’s Wellness Wednesday post I want to take a moment to personally welcome all of the new users following I am excited to have you, also find me on twitter @GenniLeeHester. Please ask any questions, I will do my very best to reply and provide you with useful information.

As promised a few weeks ago, today we are going to explore a specific breathing practice frequently taught during the hot summer months, Sitali. Just like we are increasingly aware of how food effects our overall health (emotional and mental, not just physical), there is also a growing consciousness regarding the power of breath on human physiology.

“The effects of breathing extend to the workings of the heart and lungs as well to subtle physiological interactions such as the molecular processes through which the body’s energy production is maintained,” Alan Hymes, M.D.

Sitali is an exercise for cooling and relaxing the body. Simply curl the sides of the tongue up into a mini straw. Gently inhale hair through the tongue, close the mouth, then exhale through the nose. The lovely yogini – Seane Corn – provides a perfect example in the picture below (if it is challenging for you to curl your tongue you may also purse the lips or smile really big and inhale through the teeth).

photo courtesy of

photo courtesy of

As noted, Sitali is commonly taught in the summer since it is a cooling breath; however, I want users to feel free to use it in other situations year-round. For example, I use the breath when I feel claustrophobic. By taking a few cooling breaths, it is as if there is more space and less anxiety. I frequently use it on the subway during rush-hour! Many women use it for hot flashes, too. Try it out and let me know how it works, also if you have any suggestions for when to you Sitali please share them below.


Genni Lee Hester, IYT.

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