Day-to-day life brings a lot of stress and tension. Therefore you have workplace tension, relationship stress, anxiety, and other worries. So it is important to rewind and reset every day to calm your mind and focus on essential things in life. While you might think meditation is the key, you can start with simple breathing exercises like Nadi Shodhan.
First, it is a simple yet powerful breathing exercise that can help you hit the reset button in five minutes. Whether you are prepping for a meeting, sitting for meditation, or sleeping, you can practise Nadi Shodhan anytime and anywhere. However, it is best to perform it on an empty stomach in the mornings to reap maximum benefits.
This article will discuss Nadi Shodhan, its benefits, a step-by-step guide to do Nadi Shodhan, and precautions you need to take.
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What is Nadi Shodhan?
Nadi Shodhan is a breathing exercise known as Anulom-Vilom pranayama or alternate nostril breathing. It is one of the basic breathing exercises practised in yoga and meditation sessions. Derived from the Sanskrit language, Nadi means subtle energy channels, and Shodhan means cleaning or purification. In simple terms, Nadi Shodhan refers to the ‘cleaning of energy channels’ or ‘clearing of channels of circulation.
Nadi Shodhan cleans and purifies your body’s energy channels to bring balance between mind and body. Yogic texts say your nadis get blocked due to stress, trauma, or an unhealthy lifestyle, leading to issues like low mental energy, irritation, illness, anxiety, etc. It would help if you cleared your nadis to ensure a smooth energy flow in your body. When performed correctly, even for five minutes, Nadi Shodhan can relax your body and relieve your mental stress.
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How to do Nadi Shodhan: A step-by-step guide
Now that you know the benefits of Nadi Shodhan, it’s time to incorporate the exercise into your daily routine. Nadi Shodhan is easy to perform for anyone. Moreover, you do not need any equipment or medical guidance.
Here is the step-by-step guide to performing Nadi Shodhan:
- Sit in a quiet, comfortable place. You can sit in a yoga aasan or on a chair.
- Make sure your spine is erect and your shoulders are relaxed.
- You can take a backrest if required.
- Keep a smile on your face.
- Place your left palm on your knee or your lap facing upwards.
- Bring your right hand’s index and middle finger and place them between your eyebrows. Do not exert any pressure.
- Gently place your ring and small finger on your left nostril and thumb on your right.
- Breath in through your nose and close your eyes. Keep a gentle smile.
- Now, press your thumb to close your right nostril and exhale slowly from your left nostril.
- Keep your right nostril closed and inhale slowly from the left nostril.
- Now, press your left nostril with your ring and little finger and simultaneously lift your thumb to exhale from the right nostril.
- Then, inhale slowly from the right nostril and exhale from your left nostril.
- It completes one round of Nadi Shodhan.
- You can start with five minutes and gradually go up to 10-15 minutes.
- You will observe your mind and body relax and feel rejuvenated.
Nadi Shodhan flow:
Exhale from left nostril – inhale from left nostril – exhale from right nostril – inhale from right nostril – exhale from the left nostril.
Benefits of Nadi Shodhan
1. Release stress and anxiety
Nadi Shodhan helps in improving the channels of circulation and energy. It calms your mind and brings it to the present moment instead of wandering in the past or future. It releases stress and anxiety. The practice also relaxes your body.
2. It brings balance to our brain.
The right hemisphere of your brain correlates to the emotional side of your personality, while the left hemisphere correlates to the logical side. Practising Nadi Shodhan harmonises both sides of the brain and brings in a balance between them.
3. It helps relieve circulatory and respiratory problems
and cleans the blocked path of energy. As a result, it addresses circulatory issues. While performing Nadi Shodhan, you slow down your breath and focus on it, which helps address respiratory issues.
4. Increases oxygen levels
When you inhale and exhale slowly, your lungs can absorb more oxygen from the air. As a result, the oxygen levels in your blood increase, making you feel calm and energetic.
5. Helps in concentration
It brings your mind to the present moment. It makes your mind alert and fosters mental clarity; as a result, your ability to concentrate increases.
Precautions to take before and after the practice of Nadi Shodhan
While Nadi Shodhan can be practised by anyone irrespective of age, people with breathing issues must be careful. They should not exert any pressure while practising this yoga.
Here are a few precautions you need to take:
1. Before the practice of Nadi Shodhan
- Sit in a comfortable and quiet place.
- Use a chair if you are uncomfortable sitting on the ground.
2. While practising It
- Gently rest your index and middle finger between your eyebrows. Do not exert pressure.
- Inhale and exhale slowly. Do not force your breathing.
- Breathe using your nose and not your mouth.
- If you yawn or feel dull, count your inhales and exhale. Your exhalation must be longer than exhalation.
- Be gentle with yourself.
3. After the practice of Nadi Shodhan
- Relax and sit with yourself for a while. Observe the sensations and changes you can feel in the body.
- You can also meditate for a while after it.
- You will practise this yoga as a part of various asanas and sequences.
Nadi Shodhan is a simple yet powerful breathing exercise. It brings a balance between your mind and body. When performed correctly, even for five minutes, it can relax your body and relieve your mental stress. You can practise it in the morning or evening to rewind and reset after a tough day. Regular practice can help you manage stress and anxiety. You can also visit UnitedWeCare to get expert assistance for mental health issues.