Nadi Shodana Pranayama - Alternate Nostril Breathing

  • Nadi Shodana or Alternate Nostril breathing is an excellent way to calm down the body, quiet the nervous system, and balance the energies of the right and left side of the body. Diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, can be caused by stress. Indeed, stress can trigger the slow-down and poor activity of different functions of the body – thus making breath exercises that combat stress good for the start of any yoga practice. By practicing this exercise, one can lessen the root cause of diabetes, which is mental and physical stress.
  • The term Nadi Shodana can be translated as “clearing the channels of circulation.” Prana means vital energy, breath, and life force.       
  • Pranayama is harnessing this breath and life force for the ease and clarity of our minds. As you do this, try not to hold your breath at any time. You’ll notice as you practice that one side of the nose is easier to breathe through than the other. Take note of this. This pranayama isn’t advisable during times when you have a cold. If you get light-headed or dizzy, stop, and just try again another day.

  • 1. You can sit on a chair with your back upright, or you can sit on the floor.
    2. Begin by first breathing in and out slowly and calmly, preparing for Nadi Shodana. You can count the beats of your inhale and the beats of your exhales. Once you feel they are even and steady, then you can begin the practice of Nadi Shodana.
  • 3. Bring your right hand by your face. Bring your thumb to lightly touch your right nostril. Bring your ring finger to lightly touch your left nostril Bring the two middle fingers to touch the middle of your eyebrows.
  • 4. Close your right nostril with your right thumb.
  • 5. Inhale through the left nostril
    • 6. Open the right nostril, close the left. Exhale through the right nostril.
  • 7. Inhale through the right nostril.
    8. Open the left nostril, close the right. Exhale through the left nostril.
    9. Inhale through the left nostril once again, repeating the pattern. Continue on doing this alternating the breath and keeping the breath even.
    10. Repeat for up to 10 cycles or even more. End on an exhale with the left nostril.
  • In the yogic tradition and in the Ayurveda system, nadis are seen as channels through which physical and subtle energy flow from the root to the crown. Thus clearing them through Nadi Shodana helps you release imbalances in the mind and body and encourages the flow of new energy. Aside from this, this pranayama has all the benefits of a regular breath practice which is a calmer demeanor physically and mentally, lowered heart rate, and a nervous system that can more easily stay in the “rest and digest” mode.

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