Yoga

Nadi Shodhana Pranyama – Alternate Nostril Breathing

Hi! Wishing you all well!

I’m settling into my new life and really enjoying the way I am feeling as I’ve increased the amount of Yoga that I am teaching in the community (Brevard County.) Life seems to make a bit more sense when you can say you are pursuing what you want to do in life… your “personal legend.”

As I am still human, stress still exists! Being a yogi does not make you exempt. I recently got a question from a friend (I used to babysit her sweet kids! who are getting so big!) about what types of yoga postures you can do to manage stress when you are recovering from a surgery. I had to think for a moment – as the standard yoga class can be tough, depending on what sort of modifications you may need to do to make sure you are not putting to much pressure on areas that are healing. Then, Ah! Breathing came to mind.

I wanted to make sure that I answered the question thoroughly, so I’ve decided to write this post. I’m going to talk a bit about Pranayama (Breathing Techniques)

Pranayama

“Pranayama is an in-depth science for expanding and channeling the life force, prana. “Pranayama” comes from two Sanskrit words: “prana”, meaning the fundamental life force, and “yama” meaning to control. Pranayama is, therefore channeling or controlling the life force.” – http://yougoyoga.net/pranayama.html

Pranayama includes various types of breathing techniques which can help to manage stress. Today, I’d like to talk about one particular type “Nadi Shodhana” (Alternate Nostril Breathing), How it can help, and how to do it!

Benefits of Nadi Shodhana:

  • Reduce stress by physically lowering your blood pressure. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system, enabling you to slow your heart rate and calm the breath and racing thoughts.
  • Helps to Strengthen your lungs and respiratory system. This helps you to absorb more oxygen to enrich your body and your brain.
  • Improves fine motor coordination and concentration. This allows you to feel more grounded and mindful. Present in the current moment instead of getting lost in racing thoughts. When you are able to focus on what you are doing in the current moment, stress can be reduced.

Positive benefits to the heart, lungs, and mind! Stress can be physical! The mind and body, aren’t as separate of two things as some might lead you to believe.

Nadi Shodhana Practice:

  1. Find a comfortable seated position. Soften your shoulders and your breath, beginning to allow the mind and body to settle. Place your left hand gently on your lap or your left knee.
  2. With your right hand place your thumb gently onto your right nostril and place your ring finger gently onto your left nostril. The two fingers in-between can rest on your forehead, or wherever feels most comfortable to you.
  3. Begin by gently closing your right nostril (using your right thumb) and inhale slowly through your left nostril.
  4. Then switch, closing your left nostril (using your ring finger) and release your right. Exhale through your right nostril.
  5. Pause
  6. Inhale back through your right nostril (the same you just exhaled through).
  7. Then switch back, closing your right nostril (using your thumb) and release your left. Exhale through your left nostril.
Here is a video I recommend, if the text is a bit confusing.
What is your favorite type of breathing technique? Do you have any questions? Comment below!

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