How do you feel? Right now, how do you feel? Tired? Excited? Happy? Worried? It’s all about energy.
When we are in a restless energetic state, we become manic, agitated and stressed. When we are in a lethargic energetic state, we become sluggish, apathetic and depressed. Mindful breathing is an effective method to balance our physical, mental and spiritual energy to invite a more peaceful and purposeful flow to each day.
In my personal yoga practice I often use “Alternate Nostril Breathing” to effectively create a sense 0f peaceful calm. In yoga this type of breathing is called Nadi Shodhana.
The Nadis are energy channels through which prana, the vital life force, travels. Nadi Shodhana is a wonderful way to use breath, prana and energy channel balancing to keep the mind calm and to release physical tension. Nadi Shodhana aids in keeping the energy in our bodies balanced and flowing freely.
Practicing Nadi Shodhana for a few minutes everyday is an effective way to bring yourself into the present moment, to be HappyNow… I often use it as a precursor to meditation and even sleep.
Let’s try it now.
1. Sit comfortably with your spine erect and shoulders relaxed. A smile on your face will help you get into the mood.
2. Using your right hand, make a gentle fist and raise your hand toward your face.
3, Keeping your middle and index fingers in the gentle fist position, place the ring finger and little finger near the left nostril, and the thumb near the right nostril. We will use the ring finger to open and close the left nostril and thumb for the right nostril.
4. Press your thumb down on the right nostril and breathe out gently through the left nostril.
5. Now breathe in from the left nostril and then press closed the left nostril gently with the ring finger. Removing the right thumb from the right nostril, breathe out from the right.
6. Breathe in from the right nostril and exhale from the left. You have now completed one round of Nadi Shodhana pranayama.
7. With your eyes closed, continue to inhale and exhale slowly and deeply from alternate nostrils. Remember to breathe in from the same nostril from which you exhaled.
8. I like to complete 5-8 rounds of Nadi Shodhana.
Nadi Shodhana helps relax and prepare the mind to enter into a meditative state. It’s an excellent breathing technique to calm and center the mind. Our mind has a tendency to time travel into the past or future, Nadi Shodhana helps to bring the mind back to the present moment. It works to aid in respiratory problems, releases accumulated stress in the mind and body. It helps harmonize the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which correlate to the emotional and logical sides of our personality.
Simply put, Nadi Shodhana helps to purify and balance the nadis, the subtle energy channels, thereby ensuring smooth flow of prana (life force) through the body.