Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (Alternate nostril breathing)
Hatha yoga a lot of breathing techniques to achieve a balanced frame of mind. In fact, Hatha yoga has directly linked breath with mental activity in one of the sutras in Hatha yoga Pradeepika, a classical book on hatha yoga principles, translated as Light on Hatha Yoga. It says the Prana (which travels through breath as a carrier) and its movement is directly related to the movement of the mind. As long as the pran is moving, the mind will fluctuate. When prana becomes motionless, the mind experiences calmness and steadiness. So breathing, according to hatha yoga, has a phenomenal effect of a person’s character and mindset. We try to use the same nexus to soothe the nerves and release the tension from our minds through various techniques given to us by our masters in hatha yoga.
Although Nadi Shodhan (Alternate nostril breathing) is a complex practice involving the repetition of cycles of Inhaling, retaining, and exhaling the breath in vivid ratios and time frames, a simpler and beginners mode of practice can be used by all to obtain tranquility and mental peace easily by anyone who wishes to experience the power of this unique science of breathing.
Here we are giving the technique of this simple format of Nadi Shodhan pranayam which is also called alternate nostril breathing.
- First, sit comfortably in any position where your spine is erect to the gravitational field maintaining its original curvatures and firmness. The position must not be tensed on the spinal muscles or shoulders.
- Keep your head and neck aligned with the spine.
- With your right hand, you will control the nostrils. Roll your index and middle finger into the palm and join together the ring and little finger. The Thumb and this combination of fingers will control the right and left nostrils respectively.
- With the pad of the thumb and ring finger, the nostrils will be pressed in order to shift the pressure from each nostril.
- While beginning exhales from the right nostril completely and with the pad of the finger press the left nostril while keeping the thumb on the right nostril while touching the aperture.
- Begin inhaling with the right nostril slowly without creating much noise. Breathe to your full capacity.
- On completing the inhalation, close the right nostril with the pressure of the thumb, and releasing the pressure from the left nostril exhale very slowly completely.
- Then begin inhalation from the left nostril itself to the full capacity.
- On full inhalation, close the left nostril and releasing the pressure from the right, exhale fully.
- This is one initial cycle of Nadi Shodhan.
- Give 7 minutes to this practice and you can feel a release in your brain and mind bringing about the calmness in the wavering tendencies of the mind.
- This pranayam can be a perfect antidote for handling everyday stress and exhaustion if taken seriously and regularly.
- If done continuously for more than 3 months, with a time duration of 15 minutes twice a day, Nadi Shodhan can help to overcome the issues of high blood pressure, insomnia, stress, physical manifestations of stress, headaches, partial breathing and in a long run, it can assure you of not acquiring any such disorders.
- This practice gives mental clarity and a more concentrated approach toward work and life.