NADI SHODHANA (also called Alternate Nostril Breathing or Anuloma Viloma)
Nadi Shodhana is made from two Sanskrit words, “nadi” meaning “channel” and “Shodhana” meaning “cleansing” or “purifying”. Nadi Shodhana is a purifying pranayama that alternates the breathing through each nostril, channeling the air throughout your body in a concentrated flow, allowing for Prana to flow freely throughout the body.
How to practice Nadi Shodhana:
- Begin in a comfortable cross-legged position, such as Easy Pose (Sukhasana). You may choose to sit on a folded blanket, bolster, or block to elevate your hips and reduce knee pressure.
- Sit up straight, but relax your body. Soften your jaw and breathe naturally.
- With your right hand, bend your index and middle fingers, keeping your ring finger, pinky finger, and the thumb extended. This hand position, or mudra, is called Mrigi Mudra.
- Close your right nostril with your right thumb.
- Inhale deeply through your left nostril.
- At the top of your inhalation, close your left nostril with the ring finger of your right hand as you release the right nostril.
- Exhale through your right nostril.
- Keeping the left nostril closed, inhale deeply through your right nostril.
- Seal your right nostril again with your thumb, then release your left nostril.
- Exhale out of your left nostril. You should now be in the original position, with your thumb sealing your right nostril. This is one cycle.
- Balance your inhalations and exhalations so they are the same length through both nostrils.
It balances the nadis, or (subtle energy channels throughout the body), and harmonizes the left and right sides of the body, reducing stress, anxiety.