Nadi Śodhana Pranayama – a breath worth practising
Nadi śodhana pranayama – alternating breath (purifying Nadi) is irreplaceable in harnessing the race of thoughts.
It calms the nerves when in the evening filmed by the course of the day, we have trouble falling asleep.
When it gets hot at work – you are nervous about a project or presentation, you are worried about a conversation, or you are simply stressed, this calming pranayama is a quick way to return to the centre and turn on “slack” mode.
Nadi Śodhana Pranayama – meaning
‘Nadi’ means a subtle energy channel, vessel, vein, artery, also nerve, ‘śodhan’ is cleansing and cleansing.
According to Hindu philosophy Nadi are subtle energy channels in the pranic body that can be blocked for various reasons.
Pranayama – a breath that purifies
Pranayama Nadi śodhana is a breathing technique that helps remove energy blockages and unblock the flow of prana (life force) through nadis.
Nadi śodhana means purifying breath.
Alternating breathing is a common name because of the way this Pranayama is performed.
The purpose of this pranayama is to regulate the airflow in both nostrils.
3 main reasons to start practising Nadi Śodhana Pranayama:
- synchronizes the operation of the right and left hemispheres of the brain, which helps to achieve a state of physical, mental and emotional balance
- helps release tension and fatigue
- accelerates entry into the meditative state and makes it “deeper”
Who can do Pranayama?
Everyone (at the basic level) can perform this pranayama!
It is recommended for pregnant women – it helps soothe the nervous system and is a good introduction to mastering the breathing techniques used during delivery.
8 benefits of Nadi Śodhana Pranayama:
- Calms down. Brings relief from nervousness and tension headaches relieves stress, helps to relax.
- Daily regular practice for several minutes helps you stay calm in different situations, teaches you the distance to the environment and your reactions to stress stimuli.
- Restores the balance of the left and right hemispheres of the brain (synchronizes).
- It cleanses the energy channels (Nadi) and helps to balance them, thus ensuring a smooth flow of prana (life force) through the body.
- This improves the ability to concentrate the mind.
- It works therapeutically for most circulatory problems and improves breathing ability – breath length and quality.
- Activates the parasympathetic system.
- Rejuvenates the nervous system.
The most important rules regarding practice
There are several stages of difficulty nadi śodhana pranayama – they are all aimed at balancing and regulating the airflow through the nasal passages.
Here, the basic version will be presented, perfect for beginners.
In what position do pranayama?
The best for this pranayama is any sitting position that allows you to keep your spine straight.
You can choose from Siddhasana, Virasana, Sukhasana, Padmasana in the yoga position palette.
If none of these asanas is good for you, you can choose to sit on a chair (just a sofa that is too soft to sit upright).
Pranayama – when to perform and when not to do?
For best results, alternate breathing should be done before asana, after Savasana, or meditation.
NEVER PERFORM PRANAJAMA DURING THE ASAN SESSION!
When you practice at home, use this pranayama after the asana session, preferably after a few minutes of relaxation in Savasana.
Do not do it directly after asanas, while the breath is still strong, the body and circulation are stimulated because it does not promote calm control of the breath.
You can follow the following scheme to determine when to begin pranayama practice.
Do not treat this as a rigid framework, but remember to keep a minimum gap between asanas and pranayama:
- 1.5h asanas -> including 15 minutes of relaxation -> pranayama
- 60 min asanas -> including 10 minutes of relaxation -> pranayama
- 30 minutes of asanas -> including 5 minutes of relaxation -> pranayama
- <30 min asanas -> including 2-3 minutes -> pranayama
- If you have trouble calming your thoughts during meditation, be sure to try a few rounds of Nadi śodhana pranayama first.
This will help divert your thoughts to a quieter track just before moving into stillness and proper meditation!
Do it right – tips
- Try not to force your breath, keep a smooth and natural airflow through your nostrils. Avoid ‘unnatural’ deep breaths, just try to breathe regularly and very calmly.
- Draw in and out air only through the nose.
- The breath should be fluid enough not to make any sound when breathing. If you have a stuffy nose, a little wheezing may occur – try to clean and unblock the nose as thoroughly as possible before practice (or, if necessary, also during each pranayama cleans the sinuses and nose).
- Don’t use the breathjaja.
- Block your nostrils gently, do not apply pressure.
Nadi śodhana Pranayama step by step:
- Sit in a comfortable seat. Make sure your spine is straight. You can also sit in a chair or lean back against the wall.
- Relax your left hand and rest it on your lap. You can also do a Gyan mudra (wisdom mudra) – join the tip of your thumb and forefinger, point the palm of your hand upwards, lean the top against your knee. Keep your hand relaxed.
- Place your right hand in the Vishnu mudra (Vishnu mudra): bend your index and middle finger and touch the inside of your hand, the upright thumb, ring fingers and small fingers joined together in length (they do not need to be straightened). Touch their fingertip to the tip of your thumb. The fingers we will actively use are the thumb and ring finger.
- Raise your right hand (with the Vishnu mudra) and bring it close to your face. Touch your right nostril with your thumb and your left finger ring. The hand is relaxed, do not apply pressure.
Close your eyes. Take a deep breath through your nose.
- Close the left nostril with your ring finger. Exhale fully, long and calmly with your right nostril. You are preparing for the first round of alternating breaths.
- Inhale with your right nostril.
- Close your right nostril with your thumb, release the ring finger from your left. Inhale through the left nostril slowly and steadily.
- Inhale through the left nostril
- Block the left nostril, release the right nostril and slowly exhale through the right nostril. This is one full cycle of Nadi śodhana pranayama.
- Then you continue the steps from point 7 to point 10 according to the diagram in the right nostril inhale – left exhalation – left inhale – right exhale.
Pranayama ends with full exhalation on the right nostril.
Repeat 5-10 cycles, letting the mind follow the breathing rhythm.
Finish the practice of Pranayama in short Savasana.
Steps 7-10 represent one complete nadi śodhana pranayama cycle. If you breathe slowly and calmly, this cycle should take you about 30-40 seconds.
Perform at least 5-10 cycles when you are tired or anxious. At the beginning perform short sessions of pranayama, and when you get the practice you can extend the duration of the session.