Alternate Nostril breathing is a beautiful breathing technique that helps keep the mind calm, happy and peaceful by just practicing it for a few minutes. It also helps release accumulated tension and fatigue. The breathing technique is named Nadi Shodhan, as it helps clear out blocked energy channels in the body, which in turn calms the mind. It is also known as Anulom Vilom pranayama.
(nadi = subtle energy channel; shodhan = cleaning, purification; pranayama = breathing technique)
How to Do Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhan Pranayama)
- 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 (thumb and index finger gently touching at the tips).
- Place the tip of the index finger and middle finger of the right hand in between the eyebrows, the ring finger and little finger on the left nostril, and the thumb on the right nostril. We will use the ring finger and little finger to open or close the left nostril and thumb for the right nostril.
- Press your thumb down on the right nostril and breathe out gently through the left nostril.
- Now 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 Shodhan pranayama. Continue inhaling and exhaling from alternate nostrils.
- Complete 9 such 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.
Nadi Shodhan pranayama helps relax the mind and prepares it to enter a meditative state. So, it is a good idea to do a short meditation after doing Nadi Shodhan. This breathing technique can also be practiced as part of the Padma Sadhana sequence.
Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhan Pranayama)
- Excellent breathing technique to calm and center the mind.
- Our mind has a tendency to keep regretting or glorifying the past and getting anxious about the future. Nadi Shodhan pranayama helps to bring the mind back to the present moment.
- Works therapeutically for most circulatory and respiratory problems.
- Releases accumulated stress in the mind and body effectively and helps relax.
- Helps harmonize the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which correlate to the logical and emotional sides of our personality.
- Helps purify and balance the nadis, the subtle energy channels, thereby ensuring smooth flow of prana (life force) through the body.
- Maintains body temperature.
Points To Remember While Practicing Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhan Pranayama)
- Do not force the breathing, and keep the flow gentle and natural. Do not breathe from the mouth or make any sound while breathing. Also, do not use the Ujjayi breath.
- Place the fingers very lightly on the forehead and nose. There is no need to apply any pressure.
- In case you feel dull and are yawning after practicing Nadi Shodhan pranayama, check the time you take to inhale and exhale. Your exhalation should be longer than inhalation.
None. After you have learnt this breathing technique from an Sri Sri Yoga teacher, you can practice this pranayama on an empty stomach, 2-3 times a day.
Yoga practice helps develop the body and mind bringing a lot of health benefits yet is not a substitute for medicine. It is important to learn and practice yoga postures under the supervision of a trained Sri Sri Yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga postures after consulting a doctor and an Sri Sri Yoga teacher. Find an Sri Sri Yoga course at an Art of Living Center near you. Do you need information on courses or share feedback? Write to us at email@example.com