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The Different Types of Breath Control

(5) The Cooling (Shitali)

"Drawing the air in along the tongue, slowly fill the belly; hold the breath awhile and breathe out through both nostrils." (Gheranda Samhita 5, 72.)

Protrude the tongue one finger-breadth beyond the lips, giving it the shape of a crow's beak. Close both nostrils, and suck in the air hard along the tongue, taking in all you can. Then close the mouth and hold the breath as long as possible, drawing it deep down into the belly: breathe out slowly through both nostrils.

At first, do only ten to twenty of these breath controls, then increase to half an hour morning and evening. Some people, however, practice it for at least five to seven minutes three times a day.

This breath control generates cold and has the same effects as the Cold-Maker, but it has also the special effect of increasing physical beauty and charm; it is said to give the body the beauty of Kama Deva, the God of Love.

It is inadvisable to practice it when the weather is cold nor should phlegmatic temperaments do it.

"The yogi who night and day drinks the vital breath through the crow-beak is free from all disease and can hear from far, see from far and surely can perceive subtle things." (Shiva Samhita 3, 90.)

(6) The Bellows (Bhastrika): Take the Lotus posture, and do some ten rapid air "rubbings" through the left nostril; the eleventh time, breathe in by the same nostril, apply the Net-holding contraction and hold the breath as long as possible. Then breathe out slowly through the right nostril or solar channel, release the Net-holding contraction and apply the Flying contraction. Hold the breath for three to four seconds in outer chalice and then repeat ten rubbings, but this time through the right nostril. For the eleventh time, breathe in, hold the breath as long as possible, and breathe out slowly through the left nostril. Repeat from the beginning.

At first, do only five to ten of this breath-control. It counteracts equally heat and cold and can be practiced all the year round. It also balances the humors of the body so that diseases have no hold. If practiced for six months ten times morning and evening, it makes the coiled energy very powerful.

This breath control greatly increases the capacity for holding the breath, but should be practiced with moderation because it can injure the lungs.

Regular practice thoroughly cleanses the central artery of the subtle body and, with the speed of a bird, pierces through the three main Centers of the subtle body respectively ruled by Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer, and reaches the thousand-petaled Lotus of Principial Knowledge at the top of the head.

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