Yoga Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique
(Nadi Shodhan Pranayama)

Alternate Nostril Breath helps the mind become peaceful, calm, and happy. Performing this pranayama technique for only a few minutes can relieve fatigue, tension, and stress. The Sanskrit name for this is Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, which translates to “subtle energy clearing breathing technique”. It is also known as Anuloma Viloma.

How To Do Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)

  • Sit in a comfortable position with the spine long and the hips relaxed. Release any tension from your jaw. Close your eyes.
  • Place your left hand on your left knee with the palm face upward, or in the Chin Mudra by pressing the index finger and thumb together.
  • Place the tip of the index finger and middle finger of the right hand in between the eyebrows with the ring finger and little finger on the left nostril, and the thumb on the right nostril. Use the ring finger and little finger to open and close the left nostril and use the thumb for the right nostril.
  • On an exhalation, 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. This is one round of Alternate Nostril Breath.
  • Perform 9 rounds of this alternating breath between the nostrils. Remember to always inhale through the same nostril you just exhaled through. Allow the breath to be smooth and even without creating force or pressure.

The Nadi Shodhana Pranayama will relax the mind and prepare it for meditation, making it a great technique to perform before meditating. It can also be practiced as part of the Padma Sadhana sequence.

Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana Pranayama)

  • Calms and centers the mind
  • Brings the mind to the present moment and out of the past (releasing old fears, regret, and worry)
  • Therapeutic for the circulatory and respiratory systems
  • Stress relieving and relaxing for the body and mind
  • 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.

3 Things to Remember When Practicing Nadi Shodhana Pranayam

  • Do not force the breathing - keep it gentle and natural. Do not breathe through the mouth or make any sound such as in Uujayi breath.
  • Place the fingers very lightly on the forehead and nose. There is no need to apply any pressure.
  • If you feel tired after practicing Alternate Nostril Breath, notice how long your inhalations and exhalations are when performing the exercise. Make your exhalation longer than your inhalation if not doing so already.

Contraindication

None. After you have learned this breathing technique from a Sri Sri Yoga teacher, you can practice this pranayama on an empty stomach, 2-3 times a day.

While a regular yoga practice can result in improved health, know that it is not a substitute for medical treatment. It is important to learn and practice yoga under the supervision of a trained teacher. In the case of a medical condition, practice yoga after consulting a doctor. Do you need information on courses? Contact us at programs@us.artofliving.org to find a a Sri Sri Yoga course at an Art of Living Center near you.

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