Breathing is the most important part of yoga which many people tend to forget. In Sanksrit Alternate Nostril Breathing is called Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, Nasi means “channel,” and shodhana means “cleansing” or “purifying.”
It is known for calming the mind, reducing anxiety, and bringing a feeling of relaxation to the body. If you struggle with calming down before meditation, this can help tremendously. It also can help reduce fatigue and is a powerful relief for high-stress situations.
Alternate Nostril Breathing Benefits
Some benefits include:
- Lowers heart rate
- Re-energizes your body and mind
- Prepares for a deep meditation
- Calms and centers the mind
- Brings the mind into the present moment
- Maintains body temperature
- Activates the parasympathetic nervous system and reduces blood pressure.
- Improves attention and fine-motor coordination/performance.
- Enhances respiratory functions: increases respiratory strength and endurance.
- Helps purify and balance your energy channels (nadis), allowing a flow of pran (life force) through the body
- Balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain, which correlate to the logical and emotional sides of our personality.
How To Do Alternate Nostril Breathing
1. Find a comfortable seat. Make sure your spine is long and the hips relaxed. Release any tension from your jaw. Close your eyes.
2. Place your left hand on your left knee with the palm face upward and move the hand towards your nose.
3. Using the right thumb, softly close the right nostril, and inhale slowly through the left nostril. Close the left nostril with your ring finger. Pause. Open and exhale through the right nostril.
4. Inhale slowly through the right nostril, close it with your thumb. Pause. Exhale through the left nostril. After you exhale, inhale through the left nostril. Close your left nostril. Pause. Exhale through the right nostril.
5. Keep repeating this pattern about five to ten rounds.
6. Place your right hand down and ease back to your normal breathing.
- These two full breaths are called one round of Alternate Nostril Breath.
- Perform 5 to 9 rounds of this alternating breath between the nostrils.
- Do not force the breath – keep it gentle and natural. Allow the breath to be smooth and even without creating force or pressure. Do not breathe through the mouth.