Gain Mental Clarity & Exhale Stress

Fourth in the series of Pranayama (yogic breathing) articles is the Nadi Shodhana breath.   Simple, yet profound, it calms the mind and nervous system and gets rid of toxins in the blood and lungs.

Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breath)

  1. Find a comfortable seated position with the spine straight.
  2. Take a few deep breaths, relax the body, relax the mind.
  3. Nadi Shodhana is usually done at a ratio of 1:4:2 (increasing to 2:8:4, 3:12:6, etc).
  4. Fold the index and middle finger into your palm, keep the other fingers extended.
  5. Close right nostril with right thumb and inhale through left nostril to a count of 2 (you can choose your own ratio as specified in step 3).
  6. Hold the breath, apply the chin lock (see step 8 under Kapalabhati), and close both nostrils for a count of 8.
  7. Open the right nostril and exhale for a count of 4 keeping the left nostril closed.
  8. Inhale through the right nostril for a count of 2.  Hold the breath for a count of 8.  Exhale through the left nostril for a count of 4.  Repeat.
  9. Start with 5 minutes and work up to 20-30 minutes daily.


Benefits: calms the mind and nervous system, eliminates toxins from blood and lungs, reduces stress, anxiety, depression.  Balances right and left hemispheres of the brain, bringing mental clarity and calmness.

Contraindications: recent abdominal surgery, abdominal inflammation, lung conditions, menstruation, pregnancy, un-medicated high blood pressure, cancer in abdominal region, hernia.  If pregnant, you can do this pranayama without the breath retention part (simply go from inhalation to exhalation without holding the breath in between).



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