Nadi Shodhana means "clearing the channels of circulation" and is sometimes known descriptively as alternate nostril breathing. This pranayama exercise has a quieting effect and is very helpful in reducing mental turbulence associated with anxiety and insomnia. In Nadi Shodhana, you use your right hand to control the flow of breath through your nostrils. Your thumb is positioned over the right nostril, while your third and fourth fingers are over the left.
There are several different styles of Nadi Shodhana, all of which regulate the flow of air through your nasal passages. They differ according to how and when you alter the breathing pattern. The simplest procedure involves closing off alternate nostrils at the end of each inhalation. Inhale deeply, then close off the right nostril with your thumb, exhaling through the left. Smoothly inhale through the left nostril, and at the peak of the inflow, close off your left nostril with the third and fourth fingers of your right hand, exhaling through the right nostril. After full exhalation, inhale through the right nostril, again closing it off with your thumb at the peak of inhalation. Your breathing should be effortless with your mind simply witnessing the process.
Continue performing Nadi Shodhana for the next few breaths, following this pattern: Inhaling through the
left nostril. Exhaling through the right. Inhaling through the right nostril. Exhaling through the left.
Nadi Shodhana has a relaxing effect on your mind and body. It can be useful to quiet your mind prior to beginning mantra meditation or when your mind is racing when you are trying to fall asleep. By softening the breath through Nadi Shodhana, you invoke a state of calm inner awareness.
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