Also known as Alternate Nostril Breathing, Nadi Shodhana is a powerful type of breath work designed to cleanse the energy channels and reduce stress. The mind focuses on the fingers, the nasal passages, and the breath enabling it to become single-pointed, soothing mind’s mental fluctuations. Nadi Shodhana can be practiced on its own or easily placed into your asana practice.
Here is how to practice:
Sit in a comfortable seat where the spine can be tall without tension and face your right hand allowing both shoulders to relax. Fold the index and middle finger down towards your palm and keep the ring + little finger together.
- Gently close right nostril with the thumb and inhale through the left
- Then close left nostril with ring+little fingers and exhale right
- Keep left nostril closed and inhale right
- Then close right nostril with the thumb and exhale left
This sequence represents one round of breath and in the beginning, can be repeated 3 – 5 rounds. Take full consistent breaths and become aware of the pauses between the breaths (take your time to breathe). To finish, take a few deep breaths through both nostrils and observe. A powerful addition to Nadi Shodhana is to visualize the main energy channels which are being purified.
Sushumna is our body’s largest river of energy and runs along the torso’s central axis, from the base of the spine to the top of the head. Passing through all 7 chakras, it holds the power to reach higher consciousness. Ida, represented in light blue, begins and ends on the left side of the torso and governs the brain’s left hemisphere. It carries a calming flow and is a symbol for yin, lunar, and feminine energy. Pingala, drawn as dark blue, begins and ends on the right side of the torso and governs the brain’s right hemisphere. It holds an energizing flow and represents yang, solar, and masculine energy.