Nadi Shodhana, also known as Alternate Nostril Breathing, can have a profound impact on your body, mind, and nervous system. This is a simple and powerful tool, which can be used by most people as a simple and effective practice to clear the mind and calm the whole self.

The translation of Nadi Shodhana is fairly straightforward. Nadi means “channel” and Shodhana means “purification.” So among many other things, the purpose is in the title, to purify or clear the channels of the subtle and physical body. For each of us, every 90 minutes or so, we will have alternating nostril dominance. This means that whichever nostril is dominant has some effect on which parts of your nervous system and brain are more stimulated, affecting your clarity of mind and general capacity to function in different ways.

In addition to carrying a larger supply of oxygen to the blood than regular breathing, Nadi Shodhana soothes the nerves, helps to still the mind, and balances the subtle energy of the body. While there are many types of pranayama and ways in which we can guide the breath to achieve specific effects, Nadi Shodhana can be accessed by almost anyone and effective for the stresses of every day life.

Perform this breath in the morning on an empty stomach, or it can also be helpful any time of the day. This type of breath, when performed consistently, can have a substantial effect on the nervous system and improving general wellbeing.

How to practice Nadi Shodhana Pranayama:

  • Sit comfortably.
  • Bring the Right hand into Vishnu Mudra (thumb to the Right nostril, ring and pinky fingers to Left, index and middle finger folded and resting at the base of the thumb)
  • Exhale completely
  • Block the Right nostril and inhale through Left nostril
  • Release Right nostril and exhale
  • Block Left nostril and inhale Right
  • Release Left nostril and exhale
  • This completes 1 full cycle
  • Repeat 10-12 cycles


  • Create a soft, quiet breath, to the best of your ability. If this is a challenge, just slowly work towards it over time, quieting the movement of breath through the nose.
  • As you move into this practice more consistently, visualize the breath as a movement of light, meeting at the pinnacle of the third eye (space between the eyebrows, or slightly above). The light is moving along the channels alongside the breath, like a stream.

Precautions: Hypertension, if adverse reactions such as shaking of body, intense arm or leg pain occurs this practice should be discontinued.

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