Home Yoga Practice For Keeping You Sane

How Do I Start My Home Yoga Practice?

Do you  intend to roll our your yoga mat during the holidays but then it never seems to happen?  I find that students can be afraid to start a home yoga practice without the guidance of a teacher.  Don’t let this stop you!  If you aren’t sure where to start then just unroll your mat and come into shavasana then see where it takes you.  If you come to class regularly then you will be surprised what you remember.  Your body will remember so try not to think about it too much.  Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get a clear idea of how you will approach your home yoga practice.

Finding time and a place to practice at home can be difficult.  As an experienced practitioner this is still something I  juggle but it’s not impossible, honest!  Setting achievable goals and having reasonable expectations is the key.  Perhaps a commitment to 5 minutes of practice most mornings or evenings if that works better.  Keep it simple and slot it in where it is easy and likely to cause the least disruption to other daily tasks.  What time of the day works for me and how long will I practice for?

Finding Space For A Home Yoga Practice

Unless you have a spare room or live alone, the space that might be the quietest during the day could be the bedroom.  It’s a place many students overlook but is sitting unused during the day.  You really don’t need much space to practice, particularly if you are going to start with some meditation or pranayama (breathing).  Practicing yoga are on my list of things that are fine do to in the bedroom and won’t ruin the sanctity of this quiet space.  Where will I do my home yoga practice?

Some things to get started with include; laying in shavasana and seeing where it takes you as I already mentioned above.  Practicing a breathing technique like nadi shodana (alternate nostril breathing) click here for more information.  A modified salute to the sun sequence that you can do for a few rounds.  I’ve included a video below of me practicing this.  The first side (right) shows a modification for the step through to lunge as that can be quite a tricky part of the sequence.  The left side shows the step through to lunge if you feel up to it.  There are many variations of this sequence and it’s a yoga “staple”.  If you attend classes with me then you would have practiced this version before.  What will I practice when I come onto my yoga mat?

There are many ways to modify but I couldn’t possibly post them all here!  If you’re new to yoga, injured or restricted then I suggest you don’t follow the sequence until you have consulted face to face with a yoga teacher or even better, a yoga therapist.

Enjoy the video and happy practicing, be fearless x

Charley Hickey

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK HERE

About Charleyoga & Charley Hickey

Author: Charley Hickey C-IAYT is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross, Bateman & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.

 

Life Outside The Yoga Room ~ How Do We Cope?

Yoga Charley HickeySo, this year has been an interesting one for me in terms of yoga and life in general.  At times it has been difficult with some tragedy and heartache along the way.  Along with that,  I turned 40 last week.   I didn’t foresee this as being a big deal or life changing. In fact, that would be quite  scary if an imaginary button were somehow flipped!  However, I do feel that over the past couple of years, my focus has changed.  Things that once seemed important have shifted and priorities have changed along the way.

As many of you reading this would know, I take regular breaks from teaching during the school holidays.  For many years it seemed no matter my intentions,  I used some of that time to catch up on work which began to take it’s toll.   Teaching yoga is such a joy but it’s still healthy to take breaks occasionally.   I also have a serious dislike for admin which doesn’t help as being self employed inevitably involves this.  Last year I decided that holidays were for just that, having a holiday from responsibilities as much as I could.  I stuck to it resolutely and wow, what a change!

At the end of last year, we took our family out into a National Park to volunteer for a whole month.  That’s a picture of me sitting by the river enjoying the surroundings.  We often go on shorter trips camping out but this would be a whole month without phone coverage.  It was so fantastic that we are doing it all again this year and even spending Christmas Day there.  If you are down south during the Christmas holidays, we will be in the Warren National Park at Drafty’s Camp in Pemberton from 17 Dec to 17 Jan so feel free to drive in and say hi or stay a night or two camping in this divine spot.   This experience created so much space for me to breathe that I realised life wasn’t as perfect as I’d imagined it was.  The break allowed me an opportunity to assess the year ahead and how I wanted it to look and it’s been pretty close to what I imagined.  Not without hiccups of course but that is to be expected.

Outside The Yoga Room

My yoga practice stretches far from my mat and the yoga room these days and has become a way of life for me.  It is an embodied philosophy that helps me to cope when life runs away and I stupidly try to run to catch up!  Yoga reminds me that I don’t have to run to catch anything.  I’m already here in life, just where I’m meant to be.  It seems so simple yet it’s easy to lose track of in the day to day.  For me, life outside the yoga room is still about practicing, it’s about practicing life!  We are always practicing, just like in the yoga room.  Sometimes things come easily, other times they feel difficult but we practice nonetheless and learn things along the way.

I’m forever grateful for the learning which I thoroughly enjoy sharing with my students who incidentally are also my teachers! My greatest desire is that my students all eventually become their own teachers and really no longer need me.  Seems silly to want to do myself out of a job doesn’t it.   I love hearing all the stories about your holiday yoga practice and how you coped just fine outside of the yoga room  Some of you may have got on your mat or just generally gone about living your yoga whatever that means to you.

I hope you have a wonderful festive season, this is my last BLOG for the year (probably?!) and I’ll see you back on your mats in the new year.  You can view the timetable and term dates for next year here

Take care until then x

Charley Hickey

 

 

 

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK HERE

About Charleyoga & Charley Hickey

Author: Charley Hickey C-IAYT is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross, Bateman & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.

 

Yoga And Insomnia Talk With Charley Hickey C-IAYT

yoga and insomnia Charley HickeyI hope you enjoy watching this talk I did live on Facebook last month.  Hear me chat about yoga and insomnia, my own experiences of insomnia and how yoga helped me.  I also cover some of the current research into yoga and insomnia. There are a few questions that the audience asks towards the end which you can follow in the comments.

Trouble Sleeping?

Have you ever had trouble sleeping? I hear you!  Over half the population suffer from insomnia at some point in their life and that includes me.  At the age of 11 insomnia hit me full force and it was intense! With constant nights spent tossing and turning whilst stressing about the daylight hours fast approaching.  The fatigue, anxiety and fear which accompanies insomnia are all too familiar to me.  It was by pure luck that I discovered meditation and yoga and got myself back on track.  My hope it is that others watching will be inspired to try yoga.  Yoga really has a clever way of bypassing the cycle of fear, anxiety and fatigue that insomnia creates.  I think yoga and insomnia are the perfect partners so have a listen to find out why.

Tune into one of my other talks coming up soon which you can find on my Facebook page.   Facebook.com/charleyoga

 

Charley Hickey

 

 

 

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK HERE

Author: Charley Hickey is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross, Bateman & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.

Life, Yoga & Philanthropy. Is It True That You Get What You Give?

Yoga PhilanthropyThe topic of life, yoga and philanthropy has been on my mind recently.  I’d love to be able to teach yoga altruistically without charging anyone a cent but the reality is that I have to feed myself.  It’s a struggle that many yoga teachers face and I’m sure many of you do too in your own way in your lives.  Often we want to help others but aren’t sure where to start.  How can you be a philanthropist when it’s hard enough making ends meet in our modern world?

Yoga & Philanthropy

The truth is that we don’t need to be millionaires to give generously.  We simply need to work out what “currency” we have surplus of and then how we can share it around!   I’m certainly no millionaire but my husband and I realised many years ago that the currency we have surplus of is time.  We’re both shift workers of sorts so often have extra days off since our work is done intensively on set days.  Recently we’ve been spending a month each year out in a national park caring for a camp site.  We already have a camper trailer and plenty of holiday time so are able to easily do it.  It’s nice to take time out away from the city, disconnect and give some love back to our beautiful natural environment.

Businesses Giving Charitably

From a business perspective, I think anyone that owns a business has ample opportunity for charitable work.  Amongst other things, our yoga school supports Operation Christmas Child (www.operationchristmaschild.org.au ) which involves filing shoeboxes for poverty stricken children.  We’ve filled over 2,000 between us so far which I think is a great effort for a little yoga school!  Thanks to all our yoga students who fill a box as I couldn’t do this alone.  I’m not trying to get kudos for my involvement but I think it’s a good example of how we can be philanthropists using the resources we already have.

Just yesterday I realised a fellow yoga teacher and friend, Dr Jean Byrne  co-owner of The Yoga Space has given away over half a million dollars’ worth of yoga classes to her local community.  She didn’t do this alone either but simply recognised an opportunity to send her trainee teachers out into the community to offer charitable classes as part of their training. The “currency” in surplus was access to a pool of yoga teachers needing teaching experience.  It’s a simple idea with tangible results and something to ponder.

What Currency Do You Have In Surplus?

You may be reading this and thinking “What can I do, how can one person make a difference? Isn’t it all just futile in the end as there will always be poverty and suffering?” but really, we are all only one person!  These thoughts are diversions that can guide us away from actions that might lead in a positive direction.

Perhaps we are not making a difference on a world scale but we are making a difference in the moment.  The moment that the child opens a shoebox packed with love or when the student who attends a community yoga session experiences a sense of peace. The moment we realise that our action has resulted in something! To my mind, it’s the moments that really matter. The big picture is still made up of moments however big it gets.

I’m a huge believer that you do indeed get what you give.  Although the personal rewards for these small charitable acts might not seem tangible, the ripple effect that they have through communities most certainly are.

Yoga & Getting What You Give

Can we apply this similar idea of ‘we get what we give’ to our yoga practice?  The tricky thing can be that we don’t always get what we give immediately or as we expected.  I do believe the effort pays off and the ledger balances up over time if we keep going with it!  Sometimes when we are practicing, it doesn’t always seem like we are getting results.  Other times we are able to see tangible change and then that can excite us.

The problem with this is that when things are going well and we see results, we are happy to continue.  Yet when we don’t, we want to stop our practice!   The yoga sutras teach us that we should practice regardless.  Without attachment to the outcomes or allowing ourselves to veer off the path of practice.   It’s easy to be distracted and hold on too long to ideas that can get us side-tracked by either our pleasure or pain.

Sutra 1.12 states – These thought patterns are mastered through practice (abhyasa) and non-attachment (vairagya).

Perhaps we need to give freely to our practice too?

Do you have surplus of a currency that you can share around?  Is it love, money, time, resources or something else?  If this has got you thinking about what you can share with others freely, I’d love to hear about it : )

Charley Hickey

 

 

 

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK HERE

Author: Charley Hickey is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross, Bateman & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.

 

The Joy Of Being Rescued By Those I Was Trying To Save

Yoga TeacherWell, it’s almost the end of the school break and time to start preparing for the winter term of yoga classes.  As I look ahead, I’m so grateful for being able to continue on with the work that I love.  It doesn’t quite fit properly to label it as work but I can’t think of a better and as concise description!

The truth is, I’m lucky to be at this point this year.  Earlier this year I was having some serious doubts about the future of my yoga teaching.  I was standing on the precipice of a decision that could change the course of my life.  Do I want to be a yoga teacher anymore? I’d been plagued with all kinds of worries, some real, some perceived but mostly I now see they were false.

Being a Perfect Yoga Teacher

As the popularity of yoga increases at a rapid pace so too do all the pressures on yoga teachers.  Pressure to be perfect, to be everything to everyone, to be relevant amongst all the hip new teachers on the block, to have classes running every day of the year.  There is beer yoga, goat yoga, nude yoga; the list is endless!  I’ve struggled with how as a little yoga school we are to survive and keep up with it all.  At times, I’ve felt it might be easier to just stop teaching as I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a part of all of that.  It seems so counter to the whole point of yoga and I questioned whether I wanted to be labelled as a yoga teacher at all anymore!

I spent some time soul searching, meditating and resting alone.  Then I had discussions with mentors, yoga teachers, friends and my amazing husband who bears the brunt of most of my insecurities. The unlikely conclusion I came to was that I am not going to try and “keep up”.  It goes against the grain of what yoga truly is.  Yoga is a 5000 year old plus practice, it doesn’t need to be kept up with!  I felt silly for not seeing this straight away and maintaining it as my point of focus.

Re-learning To Be a Yoga Teacher

I felt quite shaky teaching class in the weeks that followed. After 15 years, it was almost like I was learning to teach all over again.  Over those weeks, the most amazing thing happened.   I remembered the very reason I turn up to teach every day.  It has always been for the students.  I had somehow lost sight of that in my own self-doubt.

Over those weeks I had some seemingly random and very well timed encounters.  One by one several of my long term students approached me after class and opened up as to how much their yoga practice means to them.  A few even said they weren’t sure what they would do without their weekly classes.  After one such encounter, I burst into tears of happiness that I had heard exactly what I needed to help me along.  It firmly reinforced to me that I will most certainly keep doing what I’m doing!  Especially for the students that said to me “We worked out that when we are in our 80’s you will be in your 60’s so you’d better still be teaching classes so we can keep coming!”

Rescue From An Unlikely Source

So, you see, I ended up being rescued by the very ones I was trying to help; my students.

“I’d like to thank my fans” always seemed to me like such a throwaway line. Now, I see that this is everything to a yoga teacher, me included.  I don’t mean that everyone has to like me, far from it.  However the students who turn up to class each week are the reason why I will continue to run my little yoga school.

Thank you so much, I love you all!!!!

Charley Hickey

 

 

 

Author: Charley Hickey is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross, Bateman & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.

 

Join Us In Doing “Nothing” For International Yoga Day!

International yoga Day PerthYou may have heard already that International Yoga Day was declared by the United Nations and first marked on 21 June 2015.  You can read a bit more about how that came about here if it interests you https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Yoga_Day

There are many events happening globally to mark International Yoga Day this week but to be perfectly honest, we are doing absolutely nothing!

One reason for that is that I am a little burnt out and disillusioned with a lot of what the yoga world has come to recently represent in our country. Don’t get me wrong, there are many positives too and I won’t bore you with my endless opinions.  However, sometimes it feels as though I am wading through syrup when trying to impart what I feel to be a genuine practice of yoga.

As a small yoga school, it can be exhausting to keep up what with what is current including having a Facebook page, BLOG, Instagram and website.  It’s necessary to keep on top of it in order to stay relevant and it has its merits too, you are reading this after all.  Yoga studios are popping up on every street corner.  Not that this is a bad thing in itself either but things seem to be moving very fast for a practice that by design takes time, effort and a “slowly, slowly” approach.  The teacher training requirements are shorter, the classes themselves are paced faster (some only 30mins in length) and the turnover of studios also at lightening speeds!  To my mind, this all seems to be missing the point somewhat?!  Maybe I’m just getting old but I’m finding it hard to keep up with the pace.

So, that is why we are having an anti-celebration and declaring International Yoga Day as a day of “being” not “doing”.  Organising an event just seemed too much effort.  It would have most definitely sent me into a state of “doing” all over again.  I’m happy to be teaching my classes on the 21st June.  I may or may not  mention the significance of the day depending on if I remember or not!

How To Celebrate International Yoga Day

My suggestion is that to celebrate, you take some time this week to simply “be”, whatever that means to you.  It might mean hopping on your mat for some personal practice.  It could be noticing your breath at a time when you normally wouldn’t.  Another idea might be to take some time out with your family.  Try doings something that you really love that you haven’t for ages, just for the heck of it.  Sitting quietly and enjoying some internal peace whilst sipping on a warming cuppa also sounds pretty good!  To me, this is yoga in action : ).  Thank you to everyone who has organised events for others to attend and “be” at.  I admire your energy and enthusiasm but that’s just not going to be me this year.…maybe next year….

Charley Hickey

 

I Feel So Happy To Be Back In My Body

Yoga Therapy Fremantle

A Thank You Note From A Yoga Therapy Client

I just had to share this lovely thank you note from one of my private yoga therapy clients.  It  reminded me that writing thank you notes is really important as it absolutely made my day to receive this.  Yoga therapy is an emerging field so it’s nice to share when others have had successful experiences to help raise the profile of this profession.  I have a few more testimonials for yoga therapy fremantle from clients if you search under the “testimonials” category on this BLOG.  You can read more about private yoga therapy sessions and how they might help you here.  Yoga therapy is quite different to attending a general yoga class and provides the client with a tailored practice to suit  individuals needs.

Yoga Therapy Fremantle Testimonial

“Just writing a thank you note, which I am happy for you to use as a testimonial. I came to see you a couple of years ago, after being seriously ill for several years. I was feeling fragile, feeble and fearful. It was hard for me to know what was going to be possible for my ageing body in the ‘new normal’ post illness.

Your guidance and professional care was the most perfect thing I could have received. Just wanted to let you know that now – two years or more down the track I am doing aerial yoga, and eight dance classes a week: even performing at the Crown with far younger dancers than me. I feel so happy to be ‘back in my body’. It has it’s limitations, but only real ones.

Thanks to you I learned to explore my limits, carefully and courageously. Rather than shrinking and turning into a prematurely aged person, I have a fantastically full and enjoyable life. Thank you for your part in getting that re-started.” – Liana

Charley Hickey

Lotus Mudra ~ Accepting The Negative & Positive

Lotus Mudra Author: Charley Hickey is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.

Accepting The Negative & Positive With Lotus Mudra

Acceptance is an idea that is sometimes misunderstood and usually stimulates hearty discussion when it’s brought up in groups of yoga students.

Acceptance is defined as a willingness to believe that something is true.  Another interpretation is the realisation of a fact of truth and the process of coming to terms with it. (Encarta Dictionary: English UK)

Often I find acceptance is instead misinterpreted as apathy or complacency.  Following this premise, instead of dealing with the truth, we might instead intentionally or unintentionally ignore it.  This can cause a side stepping around emotions that might need to be dealt with and accepted.  Moving on is almost impossible unless acceptance happens first.

Symbology of Lotus Mudra

This brings me to the symbology of the lotus flower and specifically the lotus mudra which is a hasta mudra or hand seal/gesture.  The lotus appeals to me because it symbolises something beautiful growing from out of the mud and crap!   It’s important to note here that at no point do we remove the mud and crap.  We couldn’t if we wanted to anyway because it holds the roots of the beautiful lotus flower.

I am not trying to turn something negative into something positive, I don’t believe in doing that.  The mud and the lotus, they both simply exist in their perfect oppositeness.  Let’s face it, life can be crappy sometimes!  Often we can’t change the situation we’re in and trying to do that can be an agonising process.  To me the lotus symbolises acceptance that for the lotus to exist, so must the mud & the crap.

Practicing Lotus Mudra

We can use mudras in a variety of ways depending on individual preference.  Some have great physical benefits for improving movement of the fingers and stretching out various parts.  Others are particularly useful for focusing the mind when it is roaming wildly.  On a more subtle level mudras work on the energetic yoga system and manipulate the flow of prana.  This means they might change how we feel on an emotional level too.

To practice lotus mudra, sit comfortably either on the floor or in a chair.   Bring the hands into Anjali mudra (palms together/prayer) at the centre of the chest.  With the base of the palms together, touch the thumbs together and then the little fingers together. Invite the other three fingers to open as wide as possible, like a lotus flower opening. Place the hands in front of the heart with the thumbs facing toward the chest.

Start the breath practice with a floating lotus flower. Inhale and float the flower from the heart up to the forehead.  Exhale, draw the palms closed into prayer, squeezing the hands together and taking the elbows out wide to the sides.  The hands can lower towards heart level or lower in order to feel a stretch into the inner wrists area.  Do as many rounds as you like along with the natural flow of your breath.  If you’re not sure then 10 rounds can be a nice place to begin.

Acceptance Can Be Hard

Acceptance can be hard; dealing with crap is harder in the short term than pushing it aside or ignoring it.   However, pushing it aside just creates a huge pile of it to deal with later!  Reminding ourselves of that every now and again can hopefully help us to create some space for acceptance.

I look forward to sharing a few more hasta mudras in class this term if you are coming along!

Charley Hickey

Share Your Best Yoga Selfie!….Or Not…

Share Your Best Yoga SelfieAuthor: Charley Hickey is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.

So, I thought I’d put a challenge out to you all, can you take a yoga selfie and share it with us?  (By the way, I chose this accompanying photo simply because I like it.)

It’s an interesting concept which was touched upon by many of the speakers at the recent annual Australian Yoga Therapy Conference in Sydney.

The Rise Of The Yoga Selfie

More and more the idea of what yoga looks like is being propagated through social media. We are influenced by what we see, whether we like it or not!  This can underhandedly give voice to insecurities we may have about ourselves not being good enough, flexible enough, fit enough or good looking enough to start a yoga practice.  I wrote a bit of a blog about this in 2015 which you can read here, plus it has a very controversial picture of me if you haven’t seen it yet!

Most students who have been to a yoga class will already know that yoga is much more about what is happening on the inside then on the outside so how on earth is it possible to photograph that?!   As the yoga sutras (a yogic text) tell us ‘yoga is the quietening of the mind so that we may glimpse our true nature.’  How the heck do you photograph that and do you still accept my selfie challenge?

Practicing Yoga

Enquiring students often ask if their teacher practices yoga every day and my answer is always yes but not in the way you might think.  Even more alarming to me is the assumption that because I am thin (which is mostly genetic by the way!) that I must practice asana (poses) vigorously everyday which couldn’t be further from the truth!   It should be noted here that ‘wellness’ often cannot be seen from the outside.  The idea of wellness is much more than simply being thin and/or looking healthy.

8 Parts To Yoga Practice

As described in the yoga sutras, there are 8 limbs or parts to a yoga practice of which asana is one.  The other limbs are just as responsible for any kind of healthy glow that a practitioner may be exhibiting. These are the 8 limbs.  I may expand on them in future posts should you feel to follow along.

1&2 – a set of ethical guidelines to live by

3 – Asana – poses (the bit that is in photos)

4 – Pranayama – breathing practices

5 – Pratyahara – withdrawal of the senses

6 – Dharana – Concentration

7 – Dhyana – Meditation

8 – Samadhi – Bliss

We practice all of these limbs in each and every class.  I sometimes speak about them specifically but mostly we just do it!  Exploring the depths of your inner self during a class is so much more than a yoga selfie could ever be.  It’s also much more useful in our everyday lives.  The practice and goal of yoga is in fact not to “get better” as a yoga selfie might allude to.  The purpose of yoga is to clear the lens of our perception in order to gain perspective.  Perspective is a wonderful thing and can help us in our daily lives enormously, especially in tougher times.

Changing Perspective

Remember those statements, the unhelpful ones like not being good enough, flexible enough, fit enough or good looking enough to do yoga?  Can we change that to “I am enough!”

When we feel that we are enough already, it makes it easier to start a yoga practice from exactly where we are.  This is preferable to striving to be somewhere else, even if we want to be.  It’s much less of a struggle this way, more pleasant and manageable.  A good yoga teacher will always start you off from where you are.  They also know that you are already everything that you need to be. Our role is to simply help you to discover that for yourself : )

Charley Hickey

 

 

 

Hot & Bothered? Try Sheetali Pranayama Yoga Breathing.

Hot & Bothered_ Try Sheetali PranayamaAuthor: Charley Hickey is a practicing yoga therapist and senior yoga teacher who runs group and private yoga classes in Applecross & Fremantle, Perth.  She also runs specialised yoga workshops for yoga students & yoga teachers.

I’d like to thank the lovely lady in one of my classes who jokingly calls hot flushes/flashes “power surges”!  This comment caused many giggles amongst my students and knowing looks between those that may have suffered from this at some point.  It’s often beneficial when we can label something fairly unpleasant in a way that normalises it and turns it into a bit of a joke.  Power surge sounds like it’s almost empowering for the person experiencing it rather than it being an unpleasant hot feeling that the sufferer has no control over.   It turned out to be a timely comment since the day was a very hot and muggy one in Perth.  It seemed like a great opportunity to practice Sheetali Pranayama which is a cooling breathing technique.  Sheetal means cold or soothing which describes the breath perfectly and I love how that fits with taking charge and being proactive during a process we have little control over.

How it works

I often describe Sheetali Pranayama as personalised evaporative air-conditioning for the body!  A more scientific explanation is that we are also drawing the breath through a small gap restricting its passage so that the air loses energy in the form of heat on the way into the body. We are also passing the air over the tongue which is moist and therefore cools the breath down further.

Benefits of Sheetali Pranayama

  • Cools body temperature,
  • Beneficial for fever and hot flushes
  • Calms the mind
  • Helps relieve insomnia
  • Stress buster

It can be contraindicated if you have asthma, a cold or other respiratory problems as the coolness of the breath can be irritating to the chest so keep that in mind.  If you aren’t sure, then please ask for the guidance of your yoga teacher before practicing.

Sheetali Pranayama Technique

Sheetali Pranayama can be practiced in any position where the spine is upright, ie sitting in a chair, seated yoga posture or lying down.   Sitting is preferable when initially learning as you will stay more alert.  If you cannot roll the tongue, it’s no problem; you can still practice by placing the tongue just behind the back of the teeth and draw the breath through the teeth and over the tongue instead (Sheetkari Pranayama)

  • Sit or lie comfortably
  • Roll the tongue or place tongue just behind the teeth with lips parted slightly
  • Draw the breath slowly in over the tongue feeling its cooling effect
  • Relax the mouth
  • Breathe out slowly and smoothly through both nostrils
  • Repeat for as many rounds as you feel comfortable with, you could start with 10 rounds.

Stay cool and let me know if it worked for you : )

Charley Hickey