Nadi Shodhana

About the Practice

Practice Benefits

Nadi Shodhana is the practice of alternate nostril breathing.

Nadi translates to "channel" and Shodhana translates to "purification". It is the process of cleansing the feminine and masculine energy channels in the body, or the different sides of our brain. Breathing through the left nostril activates and stimulates the right side of the brain, accessing our feminine energy. Breathing through the right nostril activates and stimulates the left side, accessing our masculine energy. With alternate nostril breathing we access both energy channels and balance them. Scientific evidence has proven that when we begin this practice breathing through the left nostril (feminine), our heart rate and blood pressure are reduced while increasing reactivity. Starting with the right nostril (masculine), our heart rate and blood pressure increase. We can use this practice to calm or energize our beings.

The ratio of breath for this practice is 1:4:2:1 and translates to Inhale:hold:exhale:hold. Begin with an exhale to expel stale air from the body. Plug one nostril, leaving the desired nostril open. Let's begin with opening the right side of the brain. We plug the right and inhale through the left nostril for a count of 4. At the top of the inhale plug both nostrils and hold for a count of 16. Unplug the right nostril, keeping the left plugged, and exhale for a count of 8. At the bottom of the exhale close both nostrils and hold for a count of 4. Open the right nostril and inhale fully for 4. Close both nostrils and hold for 16. Open the left nostril and exhale for 8. At the bottom of the exhale, close both nostrils and hold for 4. This is the end of round one, and we can practice Nadi Shodhana for 5-10 rounds.

breathing through the left nostril calms and cools us

breathing through the right nostril stimulates and energizes us

Has an impact on your body, mind, and nervous system.

increases lung capacity, reduces blood pressure, and heart rate, infuses the body with oxygen, reduces stress and anxiety, calms and rejuvenates the nervous system, balances hormone, supports clear and balanced repository channels, alleviates respiratory allergies, enhances concentration, and brings balance to the left and right hemispheres of the brain. 

A really interesting study on healthy engineering students in 2011 demonstrated how alternate nostril breathing can be used to improve academic performance. The students practised the prānāyāma every evening after their classes for three months. At the end of the study they all reported improved feelings of well being, better memory, stress relief and improved physical relaxation.

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