Breathing exercises can be one of the most useful resources to tap into to help decrease stress and anxiety. We already take over 20,000 breaths a day, and it’s something you can do anywhere at any time. Learning how to become conscious of and control your breathing is a truly beneficial skill to improve your physical and mental health.

In our current society much of our stress is internally perpetuated, as well as chronic, meaning that this abnormal state in our body persists, instead of returning to optimal function or homeostasis. Reduced digestion, increased blood sugar and blood pressure can lead to weight gain and increased risk of serious chronic conditions. Using breathing techniques can actually help turn off the parasympathetic nervous system and the fight or flight response, reducing respiration rate, heart rate and blood pressure and inducing a state of calm.

Also known as the cooling breath, it’s a great technique to use in the heat of the summer or the heat of the moment. Created by sages in the Himalayans who observed the curve of a birds lower beak and the hissing of the cobra and imitated them to create this technique. Sitali helps cool the body, add moisture to the system and soothe temperature and emotion imbalances. These breathing practices can also help reduce fatigue and high blood pressure. Sitali uses the rolling of the tongue, while sitkari uses the gaps between the teeth to produce a hissing sound to help cool the body.