Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
Nadi Shodhana is a Pranayama, or breathwork, practice. It helps to balance the left and right brain hemispheres and to reset the body’s nervous system. This is a good practice to do right before meditation to get the mind in a clear state in order to go deeper into your meditation practice. It is also a good practice to do whenever you are experiencing stress or anxiety, as it will calm your mind and bring on a state of relaxation.
Nadi Shodhana is Sanskrit for “subtle energy clearing breathing technique” It helps balance and purify the Nadis, (the subtle energy channels in your body) so that Prana (life force) can flow more easily through your body.
Get ready by getting into a comfortable position, like Half Lotus or easy pose. Place your left hand on your left knee in Gayan Mudra, with your pointer and thumb tips touching, and the rest of the fingers outspread. With your right hand, lower your pointer and middle fingers, and keep your ring and pinky and thumb raised. During the practice, we will be blocking our left nostril with the ring finger, and the right nostril with the thumb. If you want to put a little extra focus to your third eye, you can place your middle and pointer fingers to your third eye instead of down, keeping everything else the same.
The Pattern we will be following is breathe out, breathe in, hold, switch sides, repeat. I like to picture an infinite symbol type shape to remember the pattern. I included a diagram below. We can do many variations in counts, but for this one we will be inhaling to a count of 8, holding for a count of 8, and exhaling for a count of 8.
To begin, take 3 deep breaths in and out. Then, blocking the left nostril, inhale deeply thru the right nostril to a count of 8. Block both nostrils, retain your breath for 8, then exhale left side while blocking your right with your thumb to a count of 8. Then inhale also on your left side. Hold for 8. Then exhale your right, inhale your right, and so on. For this practice we will repeat this pattern 9 times, but you can vary that number. Also repeating this in multiple rounds until you feel the benefits fully is really nice. Finish by retaining your breath one last time, but instead holding it for 30 seconds. While holding, evision a bright white light entering at the bottom of your spine and traveling up your spine, clearing and purifying your energy channels, bringing peace and
harmony to the body. Continue up the spine, thru the neck, and finally exiting out your forehead into a beautiful golden sunrise. Exhale, and then begin breathing normal. You can then go right into meditation while enjoying the sensation of your energy vibrating, and humming thru your body. Or you can go on about your day, enjoying all the peace this practice brings.