Pranayama (Breathing) – October 2021: Day 2 – Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (Alternate Nostril / Channel Clearing Breath)

Good morning Yogis! Today is a Pranayama Day Practice!

cool perspective looking at the top of snow covered colorado mountains under partly cloudy sky during alpine twilight - pranayama breath breathing Quote: Bliss begins with the breath. We breathe in and accept all that is new. We breathe out, and release all that has passed. - Sara Wiseman
Bliss begins with the breath. We breathe in and accept all that is new. We breathe out, and release all that has passed. – Sara Wiseman

BONUS DAILY MEDITATION CHALLENGE

We are in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for October! For Pranayama Day today, my meditation for the day is a Guided Pranayama Practice – Nadi Shodhana.

This is our last Pranayama Day for our special meditation month, so today we will cover 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. 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!

orange breath graphic on yellow gold background

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.

Diaphragmatic Breath

  • 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, breating 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!

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