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Practice Nadi Shodhana to clear your mind and improve your mood.
by Bette Phelan

Nadi Shodhana is a form of Pranayama (breath control) that is simple to practice and extremely powerful in its effects on the body and mind.

Nadi Shodhana, also called ďhappy breathĒ and ďsweet breathď, is a form of alternate nostril breathing that is appropriate for all levels of students. Nadi means channel and refers to the energy channels through which prana (life force) flows. Shodhana means cleansing. When you practice this alternate nostril breathing technique you are cleansing your nadis or energy pathways.

Nadi Shodhana helps to create whole brain function by balancing the right and left hemispheres of your brain. Practicing it is a quick and effective way to clear your mind and calm your emotions. You will notice the effects after only 2 or 3 minutes of practice. It can also an effective way to get rid of a tension headache.

Hereís how to practice Nadi Shodhana:

Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet on the floor or sit cross legged on the floor with a pillow under your buttocks. Stay relaxed in your body but keep your torso lengthened to make room for your breath. Avoid tight clothing around your waist.

  • Using your right hand, place your thumb over your right nostril to block the flow of air. Your index and middle fingers should be curled under (or, if that isnít comfortable simply move them out of the way).

  • Exhale slowly and completely through your left nostril.

  • At the bottom of your breath, slowly inhale through your left nostril.

  • At the top of your breath, place your right ring finger over your left nostril to block air flow and exhale slowly through your right nostril.

  • At the bottom of your breath, inhale slowly through your right nostril

  • Continue this pattern for several minutes. Out then In, reversing your fingers at the top of your breath.

    Here are some tips for how to get the most from this pranayama and avoid strain during practice.

    • Make sure that you exhale fully before the inhale. Your exhale should at least match the inhale to avoid hyperventilating.

    • Allow your breathing to remain relaxed and slow. There should be no sense of strain.

    • Keep all of your mental attention on following the flow of your breath in and out of your body.

    • Close your eyes while you practice to help draw your attention inward.

    Nadi Shodhana can be practiced just about anywhere so itís a great technique to help you stay calm and relaxed throughout your day. You can also use it before or during meditation. It helps quiet your mind before practice and can also be used as your point of focus during meditation. Itís particularly helpful for students just beginning meditation.

    Try a few minutes of Nadi Shodhana right now and notice the positive effects!
     


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