Nadi Shodhana is an equalizing breath that balances the polarity of our inner energy. It is considered one of the best pranayamas to calm the mind and nervous system, and it also balances both sides of the brain; the creative with the an analytical. Ancient yogis believed that the practice contributed to vitality because it keeps the prana flowing between the nostrils.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing helps calm the mind, reduce anxiety, and bring a feeling of relaxation to the entire body.
- It calms and relaxes the mind in preparation for meditation, which can be helpful for those struggling to settle down before meditating.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing can quickly reduce stress and fatigue, and is a quick and efficient practice to do before high-stress situations.
- Come to a comfortable seat, sitting up tall through the crown of your head with your hips relaxed.
- Using your dominate hand place you index and middle finger in the center of the forehead, your third eye. Take a full inhale.
- Right handed dominance: As you exhale, close the right nostril with your thumb and breathe out through the left nostril.
- Breathe in through the left nostril and then close with the ring finger.
- Release the thumb on the right nostril and breathe out through the right nostril.
- Inhale through the right nostril, close with the thumb, release the ring finger from the left side and exhale through the left nostril.
These two full breaths are called one round of Alternate Nostril Breath. Perform 5 to 9 rounds of this alternating breath between the nostrils. trying to equalize the length of the inhale and the exhale. If your left hand dominate use it and take a full inhale and close the left nostril with your thumb and continue as stated above.
Things to remember when practicing Nadi Shodhana:
- Nasal passages must be CLEAR!
- Always inhale through the same nostril you just exhaled through. The breathing pattern is breath out, breathe in, switch sides.
- Do not force the breath – keep it gentle and natural. Allow the breath to be smooth and even without creating force or pressure.
- Do not breathe through the mouth or make any sound such as in Ujjayi breath.
- Place the fingers very lightly on the forehead and nose. There is no need to apply any pressure (sometimes a little feels good thought).