Nadi Shodhan Pranayama
Nadi Shodhan is a Pranayama in yoga that aims at purifying the Nadis that are the energy channels of our body. Purified nadis allow the pran-life forces to move freely through the body, getting the body to a peaceful and calm state.
The term Nadi Shodhana means clearing the circulation channels, and the purpose is to maintain the balance of energy and regulate air through the nasal passages.
The literal translation of Nadi and Shodhan is energy channels, and purification respectively. Nadis are the energy channels in the body blocked for various reasons, such as stress, toxins built up in the body, unhealthy food habits, irregular sleep patterns, and physical and mental stress.
Prananaym and breathing techniques help reduce stress, balance the hormones and get a harmonious and peaceful mind.
Alternate Breathing Nostril
Usually, we do not breathe through both nostrils at the same time. Each one of them is dominant at a time for 2 hours. Nadi Sodhan or Anulom Vilom are breathing techniques that focus on breathing through one nostril for a continued time.
This technique helps in restoring the energy levels and reducing the stress level. It is equally effective in balancing the hormones as well. Our minds are integrated, as such that we are either glorifying the past or thinking about the future. There is a web of thoughts in the mind that gets bigger and busier with time.
However, the breathing technique of inhaling and exhaling helps keep the thoughts at bay. Whenever your mind wanders, Naddi Sodhan helps get the mind back to the present. Instead of being in the past or the future.
While performing Nadi Shodhan, the mind stays busy concentrating on the breath and the nostril. It helps to keep your mind away from thoughts and breaks the chain of endless self conversations.
Nadi Sodhan can be done early in the morning or before going to bed as well. Doing it during different times of the day has varied effects on the body.
Nadi Sodhan during the morning helps to set a positive tone for the day. Whereas, at night, it helps with a peaceful good night’s sleep.
Sit in a comfortable pose and sit straight to keep the chest open, shoulders broad, and spine straight.
Place your left palm on your lap and your right hand in front of you.
Place the index finger and the middle finger of your right in between your eyebrows. The fingers practiced in Nadi shodhan are your thumb and the ring finger.
Slowly close your eyes and take a deep breath and be comfortable.
Close the right nostril with the right thumb and inhale uniformly from the left nostril.
With your ring finger, close the left nostril. Keeping both nostrils closed, retain the breath for a brief time.
Open the right nostril and release the breath slowly and steadily from the right.
Now inhale from the right side slowly and close both the nostril with ring finger and thumb.
Now open the left nostril and release the breath from the left.
Try to complete the entire circle of about 5-10 cycles.
In the beginning, try to concentrate only on the inhalation and exhalation process. Traditional Nadi shodhan also includes fixed-time breathing, retaining the breath, and repeating the mantras.
Preparation for Nostril Breathing
- Before you sit for pranayama, try to create a calm and clean surrounding.
- Do not try to do it all at once. Begin with a small number and then gradually increase the number of breathing cycles.
- Keep a gap of 2-3 hours between your meals and pranayam.
- Keep the posture right, keep your chest open and shoulder down. Try not to slouch, be straight and erect.
Nadi Shodhana Benefits
Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Fast-paced lifestyle and increasing exposure to social media, stress, and anxiety have become a daily takeaway. However, reduce stress and anxiety with Nadi shodhan Pranayam and the breathing technique Anuloma Viloma.
Spike in Oxygen Level
Oxygen level in the body increases with inhalation and exhalation involved in Pranayam.
An increase in oxygen levels has its own set of benefits:-
- Stimulates brain activity
- Reduce Stress and Anxiety
- Improves focus and concentration
- Strengthens immune system
- Improves cardiovascular health
Staying In The Present
As mentioned earlier, our brain triggers to be either in the past or the future. It is never in the present. It is either glorifying the past or anticipating the future. Nadi Shodhan triggers the brain to focus on the breathing process that helps us train our brain to stay in the present.
Improves Lung Function And Respiratory Endurance
Pranayam also helps improve the functionality of the lungs and respiratory system.
A healthy respiratory functioning helps improve your performance while playing sports or doing any high endurance activities.
Lowers the Heart Rate
Just like an increase in the oxygen level has multiple benefits, lowering heart rate also has benefits such as
- Improved cardiovascular health.
- Improves the life span
- A calm approach to stressful situations
You can now say goodbye to dull skin and end the vicious circle of the beauty parlour errands. You have hit upon a beauty Jackpot- Nadi shodhan! Pranayamas helps to improve the skin texture and also give you the enviable highlighter glow.
You can get glowing and good skin if you eat food as per the dosha that Ayurveda recommends. Know more about your dosha diet here
Other Benefits Are
- Reduces headaches
- Gastric Problems
- It helps in removing toxins and unwanted materials from the body
- Prevents diabetes
Difference between Nadi Shodhana and Anulom Vilom
Need to hold your breath for as long as possible.
No need to hold the breath.
Air is inhaled from the left, breath is held and exhaled from the right one. The second round is vice versa.
Air is inhaled from the left and exhaled from the right nostril.
Is Nadi Shodhana A Breathing Technique Or Pranayam
Anulom Vilom is a breathing technique, whereas Nadi Shodhana is considered as Pranayam in Yoga.
Pranayama means expansion of Prana which means life force. It helps in increasing the body’s capacity to retain the life force and purify the energy channels. Practising pranayama every day improves spirituality and enhances the entire well-being.
Nadi shodhana is a red signal to your busy mind. It is a reminder that it needs to stop asap. The focus that you imply during the times of pranayam gets carried in all your activities. Nadi Shodhana helps you stay in the present instead of living in the future and the past.