“Alternate Nostril Breathing” – mistakenly called “alternative nostril breathing” by some news sites – is an old and reliable way of managing stress. It is traditionally known in Sanskrit as Nadi Shodhana. ‘Nadi’ translates to channel or flow and ‘shodhana’ means cleaning or purifying. It can take as little as 2 minutes, but no more than 15, to manage hormones, stress, feelings of anxiety and depression.
Here’s how PYI’s Mindfulness teacher, Karen Nourizideh teaches it:
Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
Purifies the body and stills the mind, brings oxygen to both hemispheres of the brain.
Place the right-hand index and middle fingers between the eyebrow center, the right thumb closes off the right nostril.
Inhale through the left, count “Inhale 1, Inhale 2, Inhale 3”.
Close off the left nostril with the right-hand ring finger, exhale through the right, count “Exhale 1, exhale 2, exhale 3”, inhale through the right nostril, close off the right nostril, exhale through the left for 3 count, inhale thru the left through 3 count, close off the left, exhale through the right, etc. End on the left side exhalation. Practice at least 10 rounds.
Nadi Shodhana has immediate effect on cardiovascular, pulmonary and higher functions of the brain. Nadi-shodhana pranayama practice for 20 minutes showed statistically significant difference in Heart Rate (HR), Systolic Blood Pressure (SBP), Diastolic Blood Pressure (DBP), Reaction Time (RT) and Peak Expiratory Flow Rate (PEFR).*
*Subbalakshmi NK, Saxena SK, Urmimala Urban JAD, Immediate effect of nadishodhana pranayama on some selected parameters of cardiovascular, pulmonary and higher functions of the brain. Thai Journal of Physiological Sciences, 18(2):10-6, 2005.
(“Just Breathe” photo by Robin Benzrihem.)
Dana Slamp with additional writing by Carolyn Davis.
Dana Slamp is the Founder of Prema Yoga Institute, and considers herself a lifelong student. She's grateful for the expert faculty of PYI, and the extended PYI family of #premapeeps. Danaslamp.com