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Happy February 17, 2023 – Pranayama (Breathing): Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (Alternate Nostril / Channel Clearing Breath)
Good morning Yogis! We are at the end of our week of special Pranayama practices! We will start a special meditation-focused week next week, and today we will try a a meditative Pranayama practice – Nadi Shodhana (NAH-dee show-DAH-nuh). This literally translates as “channel-clearing” but we frequently use a more descriptive translation of alternate-nostril breathing.
Today’s Positive Practice suggestion
Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is Nadi Shodhana or Channel Clearing, a Pranayama Practice. Most of us have tried diaphragmatic breathing, which is part one of this alternate-nostril breath. We recommend trying this breath technique during meditation! This is also a great calming technique for anxiety.
This technique is meant to clear the body’s energy channels, and I find it is super cleansing for the entire respiratory system – you may want to keep some tissues handy for this technique, and do not perform if you have a stuffy nose! You can also try a Guided Pranayama Meditation Practice – Nadi Shodhana.
- Start in a comfortable seat by evaluating your current breath pattern. Place one hand on your chest, and the other on your belly. Breathe in and out, and notice when the hands resting on your belly and chest move to indicate expansion. You SHOULD use your diaphragm and breathe into your belly, so your belly expands on the inhale and contracts on the exhale. Most of us breathe shallowly into our chest only, and our belly hand never moves!
- Breathe in and make sure your belly expands, pushing your hand out as your entire torso fills with air
- Breathe out, contracting the belly, making sure you empty the lungs completely
- Continue breathing in to a full count of 6, and out to a full count of 6, using your diaphragm to fill your lungs with air, and contract the belly to empty lungs completely. Focus on keeping your chest hand fairly still, and using your diaphragm to breathe into your belly.
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama – Channel Clearing / Alternate-Nostril Breathing
- Get in position – you will want to come into a comfortable seat. Place your left hand on your left knee. Bring your right hand into a Vishnu Mudra, folding your first two fingers to your palm (or if this is not comfortable, bring all three center fingers to the palm, or rest your index and middle fingers on your forehead/third eye)
- Use the right thumb to close the right nostril. Exhale and then inhale fully through your left nostril only, keeping your diaphragmatic breath technique, breathing into your belly.
- Move your right ring and pinky finger to close the left nostril. Exhale and then inhale fully through your right nostril only.
- Continue this alternate-nostril breathing for 3-5 minutes. Remember, exhale and inhale, then switch sides.
This technique can be quite confusing – you may want to follow along our recommended video this first time!
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Please comment and let me know what you thought of this Pranayama exercise! Have you tried this alternate-nostril breath? Do you have another Pranayama practice you particularly enjoy? Always remember, be kind!