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Your Guide to Alternate Nostril Breathing

May 02, 2022 3 min read

Any yoga practitioner knows that breathing is an essential part of any asana. Pranayama is one of the eight limbs of yoga that can be translated as “breath control.” Yogis believe that the breath and the mind are interconnected – a steady and fluid breath will calm your nervous system and slow down your racing mind. A fast, fragmented and irregular breath will result in a chaotic and uneasy state of mind.

There are many pranayama techniques, each with its own purpose and benefits. In this article, I’ll talk about one of my favorites: alternate nostril breathing.

What is alternate nostril breathing?

This technique is called Nadi Shodhana Pranayama in Sanskrit, which means “the purification of the nerves.” Nadi refers to a channel in the body, like an artery or vein, through which energy, or prana, flows. Shodhana means purifying or cleansing.

Use this pranayama to calm and purify the nerves, de-stress and refresh your body and clear your mind.

Instructions

  1.   Sit in a comfortable position and rest your hands on your knees.
  2.   Starting with your right hand, bend your index and middle finger, while leaving the other three fingers upright.
  3.   With your thumb, lightly press your right nostril until it’s closed.
  4.   Slowly inhale only through your left nostril.
  5.   Hold the breath and release the right nostril while pressing the left nostril down with your ring finger.
  6.   Slowly exhale through the right nostril.
  7.   While still pressing down the left nostril, inhale through your right nostril.
  8.   Hold the breath and release the left nostril while pressing the right nostril down with your thumb.
  9.   Exhale through the left nostril. That’s one cycle.
  10.  Repeat 8 to 10 cycles, maintaining the same duration in each inhalation and exhalation.
  11.  Finish by laying down in Savasana.
Alternate Nostril Breathing | Mukha Yoga

This technique is called Nadi Shodhana Pranayama in Sanskrit, which means “the purification of the nerves.” Nadi refers to a channel in the body, like an artery or vein, through which energy, or prana, flows. Shodhana means purifying or cleansing.

Use this pranayama to calm and purify the nerves, de-stress and refresh your body and clear your mind.

Instructions

  1.   Sit in a comfortable position and rest your hands on your knees.
  2.   Starting with your right hand, bend your index and middle finger, while leaving the other three fingers upright.
  3.   With your thumb, lightly press your right nostril until it’s closed.
  4.   Slowly inhale only through your left nostril.
  5.   Hold the breath and release the right nostril while pressing the left nostril down with your ring finger.
  6.   Slowly exhale through the right nostril.
  7.   While still pressing down the left nostril, inhale through your right nostril.
  8.   Hold the breath and release the left nostril while pressing the right nostril down with your thumb.
  9.   Exhale through the left nostril. That’s one cycle.
  10.  Repeat 8 to 10 cycles, maintaining the same duration in each inhalation and exhalation.
  11.  Finish by laying down in Savasana.
Alternate Nostril Breathing | Mukha Yoga

Try this technique every time you need to center your attention and purify your thoughts. The beauty of breathing exercises is that they can be practiced anywhere – in bed, at your desk, in public transport or in a coffee shop!

Aimeé Durán Triujeque l Mukha Yoga Writer
By Aimeé Durán Triujeque; All Rights Reserved @2022

Aimeé Durán Triujeque l Mukha Yoga Writer By Aimeé Durán Triujeque; All Rights Reserved @2022