Nadi Shodhana, or "alternate nostril breathing," is a yogic practice intended to balance and clear the circulation of air through your nasal passages. This simple, yet powerful technique has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and yogic practices to settle the mind, body, and emotions.
Alternate nostril breathing can help:
- quiet your mind at the beginning of a meditation practice
- support the transition into restful sleep or during bouts of insomnia
- detoxification through the airways
- clearing the energetic channels within the brain and nervous system
- mental clarity
Nadi Shodhana is a great technique to use anytime you need a mental reset. Follow these instructions from Chopra Center or watch the video linked below:
- Take a comfortable seat, making sure your spine is straight and your heart is open.
- Relax your left palm comfortably into your lap and bring your right hand in front of your face.
- With your right hand, bring your pointer finger and middle finger to rest between your eyebrows, lightly using them as an anchor. (The fingers we'll be actively using are the thumb and ring finger).
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath in and out through your nose.
- Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through the left nostril slowly and steadily.
- Close the left nostril with your ring finger so both nostrils are held closed; retain your breath at the top of the inhale for a brief pause.
- Open your right nostril and release the breath slowly through the right side; pause briefly at the bottom of the exhale.
- Inhale through the right side slowly.
- Hold both nostrils closed (with ring finger and thumb).
- Open your left nostril and release breath slowly through the left side. Pause briefly at the bottom.
*Steps 5-9 represent one complete cycle of alternate nostril breathing. If you're moving through the sequence slowly, one cycle should take you about 30-40 seconds.
**Move through 5-10 cycles when you're feeling stressed, anxious, or in need of a reset button.