Nadi Shodhana Breathing Through Alternate-Nostril
Nadi Shodhana, also known as alternate-nostril breathing is deeply relaxing and helps to calm the nervous system when done properly, such as with Yoga & Meditation. First, sit comfortably – preferably in a cross-legged position. Take the first two finger of the right hand to the third eye – ajna chakra, and use the right thumb to open and close the right nostril and the right ring finger to open and close the left nostril. Start by closing off the right nostril with the right thumb, inhaling deeply through the left nostril. Count to yourself – one om, two om, three om, etc. As high as possible with no tension – maybe starting with a count of four or five. Then, close of the left nostril with the right ring finger and exhale out the right by releasing the thumb, again counting one om, two om, etc. – one count longer than the inhale. So, if you inhale a count of four, your exhale will be a count of five. Follow this way inhaling through the left, exhaling out the right, then inhaling through the right and exhaling out the left for a few minutes – 3-5 minutes to start and progressing to 5-10 minutes with more practice.
This yogic form of breathing/pranayama helps balance the masculine and feminine within oneself – creating a free flow of energy up and down Ida and Pingala nadis, the two primary energy lines (pingala=masculine and ida=feminine) up and down the body. It is said that once these two energy channels are completely flowing, unobstructed, the primary nadi Sushumna flows smoothly. Sushumna runs up and down the spine – when it is perfectly open one can reach Enlightenment. Even if Enlightenment is out of reach or not desired, Nadi Shodhana helps to create a perfectly calm relaxed nervous system state, something we can all benefit from.