Definition - What does Nadi Shodhana mean?
Nadi shodhana ("alternate nostril breathing" or "channel cleaning breathing") is a pranayama breathing technique that calms the mind, body and emotions. The term comes from the Sanskrit nadi, meaning "channel," and shodhana, meaning "cleaning" or "purifying."
Nadi shodhana should be practiced in a comfortable seated position with a straight spine and open heart. The right pointer finger and middle finger are brought between the eyebrows. With the right nostril closed by the thumb, inhale through the left nostril. At the top of the inhale, the breath is retained for a brief pause, while the left nostril is closed with the ring finger. Exhale through the right nostril, with a brief pause at the bottom of the exhale. Then this process is repeated with the right nostril open for the inhale and the left open for the exhale. The full cycle should be repeated five to 10 times.
Yogapedia explains Nadi Shodhana
Nadi shodhana is an excellent breathing technique to calm and center the mind, bringing it back to the present moment. It helps to harmonize the hemispheres of the brain, balancing the logical and emotional sides of the practitioner's personality. Practice of this breathing technique also purifies and balances the nadis (energy channels), and ensures a smooth flow of prana (life force) through the body.
Nadi shodhana helps circulate breath through the nadis, the chakras and the brain, thus, returning the body to a state of balance. Specifically, it stimulates the ajna (third eye) and muladhara (root) chakras. It also balances the ida (left) and pingala (right) nadis, thus, enhancing spiritual progress.
Nadi shodhana helps ground the practitioner before meditation. If it is difficult to settle into the meditation, a few rounds of this breathing technique should help the practitioner find their focus.