Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

Last Updated: February 16, 2018

Definition - What does Nadi Shodhana Pranayama mean?

Nadi shodhana pranayama is a breathing technique that works at both the physical and mental levels. It is a Hatha yoga pranayama technique that purifies the body's energy channels, or nadis.

To practice nadi shodhana pranayama, sit comfortably with the spine erect in a posture such as padmasana (lotus pose). Assume the chin mudra with the left hand, and place the tip of the index and middle fingers of the right hand between the eyebrows. Press the right nostril with the thumb and inhale through the left. Retaining the breath, close the left nostril with the ring finger and exhale through the right. Then repeat this process, inhaling through the right nostril and exhaling through the left to complete one cycle. The full cycle can be repeated up to 10 times.

In Sanskrit, nadi means "energy channel," shodhana means "cleansing," and pranayama refers to breathing techniques. Therefore, nadi shodhana pranayama is also referred to in English as channel cleansing breath or alternate nostril breathing.

Yogapedia explains Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

An advanced version of nadi shodhana pranayama involves holding the breath for longer amounts of time. In this variation, the practitioner inhales for a count of four, retains the breath for a count of 16, exhales for a count of eight, and holds the breath out for a count of 16.

Nadi shodhana pranayama strengthens the respiratory system and nervous system, purifies the blood, and improves circulation. It is effective for relieving respiratory issues, promoting the flow of energy and aiding in overall health. According to Ayurveda, practicing nadi shodhana pranayama helps cleanse and balance the energy channels that carry prana energy through the body.

Some of the mental health benefits of nadi shodhana pranayama include:

  • Calms the mind
  • Improves focus
  • Alleviates stress
  • Promotes mental clarity
  • Prepares the mind for meditation

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