Pranayama means breathing technique. One of my all time favorites is Nadi Shoda (Alternate Nostril Breathing). I include it in almost every Yin class I teach as it helps to calm the mind. You can practice this technique at anytime throughout the day and it is a great one to do if you are experiencing stress at work or if you are stuck in traffic!
How to do it
- Sit comfortably, keeping the head and spine upright.
- Close your eyes or keep your gaze low.
- Take Vishnu Mudra (hand gesture) as shown in the diagram. Use your thumb to block the right nostril and use your ring finger to block the left.
- Start by blocking the left nostril, slowly inhale through the right nostril, then block the right and exhale left. Inhale through the left nostril, then block the left, and exhale right.
- This technique uses the ration of 1:1 inhale to exhale, as you progress you may use 1:2 extending the exhalation. For more advanced versions using breath retention, please work with your yoga instructor.
- Calms the mind, creates a feeling of peace and happiness.
- Increases vitality
- Reduces stress levels
- Fantastic to do a few rounds of this breathing if you suffer from insomnia.
- Improves concentration
Why this works
This pranayama (breathing technique) clears out blocked energy channels in the body. It works on the subtle energy channels (nadis), hence the name. Nadi = subtle energy channels Shodana = cleaning/clearing