Pranayama Breathing

Alternative Nostril Breathing - Nadi Shodhana

Posted on 2018-07-14

nah-dee  show-DAH-nah - nadi = channel  shodhana = cleaning, purifying  = Chanel Cleansing 

Do you feel stressed and anxious? Then nadi shodhana can be your remedy. Nadi Shodhana has a long history with yogis and within Ayurvedic medicine.  It is a powerful and extremely beneficial breathing practice, which is primarily aimed towards clearing, purifying and balancing your subtle and physical body.  Suitable for anyone, the effects are instantaneous.

If you are feeling slow, lethargic and need energy, then trying pranayama techniques such as alternate nostril breathing can give your body and mind a much-needed boost.
Nadi Shodhana can help to sharpen your mind and concentration by sending equal amounts of oxygen to both sides of your brain, the left and right, and neutralizes any excess heat. 
Next time you find yourself taking on too many things and feel a little overwhelmed, Nadi Shodhana is a great way to hit the reset button. 

How to practice nadi shodhana

  • To start nadi shodhana, sit comfortably in a comfortable pose with a straight spine and neck in line - You can also sit comfortably in a chair
  • Close your eyes, inhale and exhale naturally for a few breaths
  • Relax your left hand in your lap and use the right hand to practice 
  • With your right hand, make a "peace sign" and rest gently between your eyes on the bridge of your nose. 
  • Place your thumb gently onto your right nostril and place your ring finger gently onto your left nostril, the active fingers you are using are the thumb and ring finger letting your pinky relax. 
  • Close your eyes and begin by gently closing your right nostril, with your right thumb, and breath slowly and deeply in through your left
  • Close your left nostril, with the right ring finger, and retain the breath by keeping both nostrils closed for a pause
  • Open your right nostril and exhale slowly. 
  • Inhale through your right nostril slowly and deeply, close both nostrils and then opening the left nostril exhale.
  • It becomes a rhythm of breath, opening one side to inhale, hold, open the other to exhale and inhale before holding and then opening the other side to exhale.
  • Repeat 5-10 cycles, allowing your mind to follow the inhales and exhales.
  • When you’re finished, relax both your arms and breath naturally for a few moments before opening your eyes.

Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing 

  • Circulates fresh oxygen around the brain and body 
  • Cleanses toxins from the body
  • Can reduce stress and anxiety 
  • Calms the nervous system 
  • Can help with balancing hormones
  • Can alleviate respiratory problems
  • Enhances concentration 
  • Encourages clarity and an alert mind

Awareness when Nadi shodhana

  • Don’t force your breathing, let the breath be natural and flowing.  
  • Don’t breathe with the mouth or use the Ujjayi breath. 
  • Place your fingers lightly between the eyes, don’t press with too much pressure. 
  • If retaining your breath, don’t hold too long to the point of discomfort or dizziness.  
  • Pranayama can be practiced anywhere and Nadi Shodhana once learned can be exercised daily, starting with a few minutes each time

We recommend to start our 4 week long level 1 pranayama program

Previous What is Yoga? A Beginner’s Guide
Next Lions pose - Simha Mudra Pranayama

Comment / read all comments