Get ready for a series of blog posts covering all of the different kinds of pranayama (basically – yogi breathing techniques) out there. Today we’re starting with Nadi Shodhana, also known as Alternate Nostril Breath. Sounds glamorous, no?
Nadi Shodhana helps to calm the mind, keeping us focused on the present moment. Beyond that, it serves to cleanse the Nadis, which are the subtle energy channels of the body. When the Nadis are clear, we allow for a smooth, unobstructed flow of prana (which is our life force energy) throughout the body. Nadi Shodhana helps our respiratory health and is wonderful for our nervous system. It’s a great pranayama to do to prepare the body and mind for meditation.
Sit in any comfortable seat – on your yoga mat, on a block, on a cushion, on a chair…wherever you feel comfortable. Take your right hand and bring your index and middle fingers to that third eye point between your eyebrows, your thumb to hover over your right nostril, and your ring finger to hover over your left nostril.
Gently close your right nostril with your thumb. Inhale through your left nostril, then close it with your ring finger. Open right nostril and slowly exhale.
Keep the right nostril open, inhale, then close it, and open and exhale slowly through the left.
That’s one round done! Repeat 3 to 5 times, then release your hand and return to a normal breath.
As you become more advanced in your pranayama practice, you can start to add in breath retention, counting the breath, and mantra if you like. But if you’re just starting off, simply focusing on the inhale and exhale is more than enough.
Are there any other pranayama techniques you’d like us to explain? Let us know!
Namaste – and happy breathing <3