Nadi Shodhana - Alternate Nostril Breathing

What is Nadi Shodhana?

Nadi = subtle energy channel; Shodhana = cleaning, purification; Pranayama = breathing technique.

Nadis are subtle energy channels in the human body that can get blocked due to various reasons. The Nadi Shodhana pranayama is a breathing technique that helps clear these blocked energy channels, thus calming the mind. 

Nadi shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing, has a long history in Ayurvedic medicine and yoga, where it’s thought to harmonize the two hemispheres of the brain, resulting in a balanced in physical, mental and emotional well-being. 

Effects:   helps to balance the sympathetic and para-sympathetic nervous systems, the left and right hemispheres of the brain, and two of the main nadis, Ida and Pingala.
So here are three good reasons for practicing this pranayama: 
1. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system and reduces blood pressure. 
2. It enhances respiratory functions: increases respiratory strength and endurance. 
3. It improves attention and fine motor coordination/performance.

How to do the practice?

  • Sit comfortably with your spine erect and shoulders relaxed. Keep a gentle smile on your face.
  • Place your left hand on the left knee, palms open to the sky or in chin mudra.
  • Place the tip of the index finger and middle finger of the right hand in between the eyebrows, the ring finger and little finger is used on the left nostril, and the thumb on the right nostril. You will use the ring finger and little finger to open or close the left nostril and thumb for the right nostril.
  • Gently press your thumb down on the right nostril and breathe in from the left nostril and then press the left nostril gently with the ring finger and little finger. Removing the right thumb from the right nostril, breathe out from the right.
  • Breathe in from the right nostril and exhale from the left. You have now completed one round of Nadi Shodhana pranayama. Continue inhaling and exhaling from alternate nostrils.
  • Work up to completing 9 rounds by alternately breathing through both the nostrils. After every exhalation, remember to breathe in from the same nostril from which you exhaled. Keep your eyes closed throughout and continue taking long, deep, smooth breaths without any force or effort.

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