Nadi Shodhana or “Alternate Nostril Breathing” is considered a yogi’s best friend. This breath is said to bring calm and balance, uniting the right and left sides of the brain. Starting in a comfortable seated position, with the spine erect and the shoulders relaxed, hold the right thumb over the right nostril and inhale deeply through the left nostril. At the peak of inhalation, close off the left nostril with the ring finger, then exhale through the right nostril. Continue the pattern, inhaling through the right nostril, closing it off with the right thumb, and exhaling through the left nostril.
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, easy breaths.
This pranayama practice works well during crunch time, or whenever it’s time to focus or energize. This is not a pranayama practice to be done before bed: Nadi shodhana is said to “clear the channels” and make people feel more awake. It’s more a cup of joe than a soothing cup of chamomile tea.
This pranayama practice begins and ends by breathing through the left nostril. Some pranayama practices can create heat in the body, but concluding the practice by exhaling through the left nostril neutralizes any excess heat that may have accumulated.
Be sure and come back next week, as we go over Kapalabhati or “Shining Breath.”
See the last post in this series.