Definition - What does Shodhana mean?
Shodhana is a Sanskrit word meaning "cleaning" or "purifying." It is commonly paired with nadi, another Sanskrit word, meaning "channel." Nadi shodhana is a calming breathing exercise that is useful for relieving stress, fatigue and tension. The whole term can be translated as “alternate nostril breathing" or "channel cleaning breathing".
This breathing technique can give the practitioner a clearer and calmer mind. Practicing nadi shodhana is a way to achieve a deeper and more peaceful night’s sleep, and it naturally restores the mind and body.
In yoga practice, nadi shodhana can be used as a closing pranayama exercise after physical practice and as preparation for meditation.
Yogapedia explains Shodhana
Before practicing nadi shodhana, it is important to sit comfortable. Rock from one side to the other, back and forth, to get the spine and neck properly aligned. The left hand should rest on the left knee.
Place the middle and index fingers of the right hand between the eyebrows. The little and ring fingers should sit near the left nostril, while the thumb rests on the right nostril. One nostril is closed for a long, slow inhalation. The breath is held at the top of the inhalation while the closed nostril is released. Then the opposite nostril is closed for the exhalation. This process is repeated to complete a full cycle, which can be repeated for a total of five to 10 times.
This important breathing technique is a powerful relaxation method that works well with yoga and meditation practices for a healthier body and happier state of mind.