What and How - Alternate Nostril Breathing (nadi shodhana pranayama)

Brenda Rock

Alternate Nostril Breathing (nadi shodhana pranayama)

(nah-dee show-DAH-nah)

nadi = channel

shodhana = cleaning, purifying


"Alternate nostril breathing," or Nadi Shodhana, is a simple but effective practise for calming the mind, body, and emotions. It can be used to calm your mind before beginning a meditation practise, and it's especially useful for calming racing thoughts if you're anxious, stressed, or having difficulties sleeping.
Nadi Shodhana comes in a variety of techniques, but they all aim to balance and regulate the flow of air via your nasal passages. Nadi Shodhana literally means "cleaning the pathways of circulation."


Sit in a comfortable position.
Place your left hand on your left knee.
Lift your right hand up toward your nose. Put something under elbow

  • Exhale completely and then use your right thumb to close your right nostril.
  • Inhale through your left nostril and then close the left nostril with your fingers.
  • Open the right nostril and exhale through this side.
  • Inhale through the right nostril and then close this nostril.
  • Open the left nostril and exhale through the left side.
  • This is one cycle.
  • Continue for up to 5- 10 minutes.
  • Always complete the practice by finishing with an exhale on the left
  • Sit for a few moments after and breathe gently through both nostrils.

Consistent inhales, pauses, and exhales are good. Inhale for five, hold for five, exhale for five, hold for five. As you practise, your count can rise.

Do not do any breath retention if you have blood pressure or heart issues.

Reduces tension and anxiety while lowering heart rate.
Said to harmonise the two hemispheres of the brain.

Said to cleanse the subtle energy channels (nadis) of the body, allowing prana to flow more freely during pranayama practise.

Some Typical Errors
Using excessive force with the fingertips.
Uncomfortable in the seated posture
Turning to the right, the head nods.

Please keep in mind that pranayama should never be pushed; instead, it should be done in a relaxed and pleasant manner.
If your nose is blocked, you can do a visualisation practise with the focus on imagining the breath moving up and down the arms to the centre of the eyebrows.

Same flow and direction as if breathing in and out of nostrils.

Contraindications and Cautionary Statements
Breathing difficulties or shortness of breath
Chest constriction or a stiffness behind the brow.
If any of the above symptoms occur, stop practising Pranayama and allow your breathing to return to normal.
Hold your breath as little as possible if you are prone to dizziness.
If you have a blocked nose, avoid doing Nadi Shodhana.

Do not do any breath retention if you have blood pressure or heart issues.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or would like to work on a one to one basis for some breath coaching (in person or on-line).

Contact Brenda on 085 1502378 or anandacentre@gmail.com

Brenda Rock