Nadi Shodhan Pranayam or also known as alternate nostril breathing. The nadis are the subtle nerve channels in the body and shodhan means purifying or cleaning, so this pranayama or breathing exercise will help to cleanse the subtle nerve channels within the body allowing the prana or energy to flow freely helping you to maintain good health.
Take your right hand and gently rest your index and middle finger between your eyebrows. You will be using your ring finger to close the left nostril and your thumb to close your right nostril. To close the nostrils just apply minimal pressure to the sides of the bridge. This will be sufficient to block air flow.
Close your left nostril and inhale through the right nostril. Retain the breath momentarily as you block the right nostril with your thumb and open the left nostril. Now exhale through the left nostril. Your next inhale is through the left nostril. Again momentarily retain the breath as you close the left nostril and open the right one and then exhale through the right nostril.
This completes one round of nadi shodan pranayam (alternate nostril breathing). Repeat 4 or 5 times then lower your hand and breathe gently through both nostrils.
Breathe slowly and smoothly throughout this exercise and focus on the feeling of the breath as you bring it evenly to each of the three areas of body. Although deep your breath should not be forced or strained.
Because pranayam deeply rejuvenates the whole body, you will feel fresh and enlivened. You will notice how your mind slows down and becomes clearer and more focused and your body begins to release some of its tension.
- If one nostril is blocked, persevere because it may become unblocked as the breath balances itself out.
- Your left hand may be substituted for your right hand if it is your dominant hand.