Definition - What does Nadi Shuddhi mean?
Nadi shuddhi is a term that refers to the cleansing of the subtle channels through which life-force energy (prana) travels in the body. The term comes from the Sanskrit nadi, which roughly translates as “nerves,” “channels” or “flow,” and shuddhi, which means “cleansing” or “purifying.” The cleansing is performed via a pranayama or yogic breathing exercise that is known in English as alternate nostril breathing.
One nostril is closed off while the yogi exhales and then inhales through the open nostril. He or she then closes that nostril and exhales through the opposite nostril followed by an inhale. This forms a single round of nadi shuddhi.
Yogapedia explains Nadi Shuddhi
To practice nadi shuddhi, the yogi sits in comfortable pose such as padmasana, with the left hand resting in chin mudra. The yogi takes vishnu mudra with the right hand, allowing him or her to use the thumb to close the right nostril and the ring finger to close the left nostril.
Besides cleansing the nadis, nadi shuddhi is believed to balance the right and left sides of the brain and is thought to have these additional benefits:
- Strengthens the lungs
- Improves blood circulation, thereby improving the function of the rest of the body's organs
- Increases energy
- Calms the nervous system, reducing stress and anxiety
- Helps remove excess body heat
- Reduces body odor
- Boosts the immune system
- Stills the mind