Nadi Shodhana Kriya

Definition - What does Nadi Shodhana Kriya mean?

Nadi shodhana kriya is a pranayama sequence common to many forms of yoga, but it is typically called a kriya in Kundalini yoga. The term, kriya, refers to a set of yogic practices or movements that are performed to achieve a particular outcome.

From Sanskrit nadi means “channel” or “flow” and refers to the energy channels in the body; shodhana means “purifying” or “cleansing”; and kriya means “action” or “activity.” Nadi shodhana kriya, therefore, is an exercise that cleanses the body's energy channels. It is also known in English as alternate nostril breathing.

Yogapedia explains Nadi Shodhana Kriya

To practice nadi shodhana kriya, take vishnu mudra with the right hand (forefinger and middle finger curled inward and the other fingers extended). The thumb closes the right nostril to allow the inhale via the left nostril, then the thumb releases and the ring finger closes the left nostril so the exhale is through the right nostril. The process is then reversed with inhale through the right nostril and exhale through the left.

In addition to cleansing the nadis, this kriya is believed to balance the left and right sides of the brain. It also has these benefits:

  • Calms the mind in preparation for meditation
  • Improves focus and concentration
  • Is therapeutic for allergies
  • Balances hormones
  • Revitalizes the nervous system
  • Improves lung function
  • Oxygenates the blood
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