Breathe and Relieve: The best Pranayama Techniques
Nadi Shodhana, an ancient breathing technique balances the body, mind and spirit.
One limb of yoga discussed in Patangali’s Yoga Sutra’s is Pranayama, or breath control. Regulating the breath is a crucial part of yogic practice as it balances the pranic energy – or life force energy – inside of us. Some pranayama techniques work to awaken the body, some are meant to calm the body and others help in creating a balance.
Nadi Shodhana - Alternate Nostril Breathing
Nadi Shodhana’ is a fundamental pranayama practice, used to restore balance in the body.
‘Nadis’ are energy channels within the body which move around prana. ‘Shodhana’ means purification. Hence, Nadi Shodhana is the practice of the purification of energy channels.
There are 72,000 nadis within the body, split between the ‘ida’ and ‘pingala’. Ida is associated with the brain’s right hemisphere and the left side of the body. It brings coolness to the body and activates the parasympathetic nervous system. Pingala corresponds with the brain’s left hemisphere and the right side of the body. It is known for heating and activating the sympathetic nervous system. In any given moment, one nadi tends to be more active than the other. Typically, pingala tends to activate while we are busy doing work and staying active, while ida flourishes when we are relaxed and calm.
Gently place your fingers under your nostrils and see if you can feel which nostril the breath is flowing more strongly out of. If breath from the left nostril is dominant, the ida is more active; and if the breath from the right nostril is dominant, then the pingala is more active.
Performing Nadi Shodhana creates balance between the ida and pingala, bringing harmony to the body, mind and spirit.