Nadi Shodhana, also known as “alternate nostril breathing,” is a powerful yet pragmatic technique for relaxing the mind in preparation for meditation. Translated from Sanskrit, ‘Nadi’ means ‘channel’ and ‘Shodhana’ means purifying. This ritual is best categorized as a cleansing technique, given that it’s most commonly used to dispel negative thoughts, embodied stress, and fluctuations in mood.
When practiced regularly, Nadi Shodhana contributes to a healthy nervous system as it lowers one’s heart rate and blood pressure. Alternate nostril breathing balances the subtle body by harmonizing the two channels known as Ida (feminine, lunar, cooling energy) and Pingala (masculine, solar, heating energy). We often turn to this technique when we need to calm down quickly and efficiently i.e. between meetings or before teaching a class.
How to Practice:
- Place your left hand in your lap
- Position the index and middle fingers of your right hand between your eyebrows
- Seal your right nostril with your thumb and inhale through the left nostril
- Seal your left nostril with your ring finger and exhale through the right nostril
- Inhale through the right nostril
- Exhale through the left nostril
- Continue alternating for 9 complete cycles of breath