The Sanskrit word nadi means 'psychic passage' or specific pathway' through which prana flows throughout the body'. The word .shodhana means 'purification'. Thus this is a practice whereby the pranic pathways are purified and decongested. This allows the prana to flow freely throughout the body, bringing the physical body into the best possible health and calming the mind. It is an excellent preparation for meditational techniques.
There are four basic stages of nadi shod-hana. Each stage should be mastered before proceeding to the next. This is important, for control over the respiratory system has to be gradually developed over a period of time. Premature attempts at doing more advanced stages could lead to strain and injury of the respiratory system, and particularly to the very sensitive associated nervous system. It is for this reason that the four stages will be introduced in this book over a number of lessons. This will allow the reader to practise each stage for a reasonable period of time and to be fully ready for the more advanced stages as they are introduced.
In this topic we will discuss nadi shodhana stage 1, which is divided into two parts.
NASAGRA MUDRA (NOSE TIP POSITION)
The breath through the nostrils is controlled by the fingers of one hand held in front of the face. This position of the hand is actually called nasagra or nasikagra mudra (nose mudra). This is the first mudra that we have so far mentioned and is one of the numerous hand mudras. We don't want to discuss mudras at this stage for we will do this in the near future, but we have prematurely introduced you to nasagra mudra because it is so important for pranayama practices.
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