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Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, also known as “Alternate Nostril Breathing,” is a popular and calming breathing technique in yoga. It is believed to balance the two hemispheres of the brain, improve focus, and alleviate stress. The practice involves breathing through one nostril at a time, using specific hand positions to control the airflow. Here’s a detailed process on how to perform Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

Step by Step Guide to Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

a. Sit Comfortably:
Find a quiet and clean place to sit comfortably. You can sit in a cross-legged position (Padmasana or Sukhasana) on a cushion or yoga mat.
Keep your spine straight, shoulders relaxed, and hands resting on your knees in a gesture of your choice (such as Gyan Mudra).

b. Relaxation:
Take a few deep breaths to relax your body and mind.
Close your eyes and maintain a calm and focused state.
  • Use your right thumb and ring finger to manipulate the nostrils.
  • Place your index and middle fingers between your eyebrows.
  • Use your thumb to close off the right nostril and your ring finger to close off the left nostril.

Become aware of your natural breath for a few moments before starting the practice.

a. Inhalation:
Close off your right nostril with your right thumb.
Inhale slowly and deeply through your left nostril.

b. Retention:
After a full inhalation, close your left nostril with your ring finger.
Hold your breath for a moment (retention).

c. Exhalation:
Release your right nostril and exhale slowly and completely.

d. Inhalation on the Right Side:
Inhale deeply through your right nostril.

e. Retention:
Close your right nostril and hold your breath for a moment (retention).

f. Exhalation on the Left Side:
Release your left nostril and exhale slowly and completely.

g. Repeat the Cycle:
This completes one cycle. Continue the cycle for several rounds, starting with the left nostril.
  • Maintain a smooth and even rhythm throughout the practice.
  • The duration of inhalation, retention, and exhalation can be equal, but initially, keep it comfortable and gradually increase as you become more experienced.
  • After completing the desired number of rounds, finish with an exhalation through the left nostril.
  • Release the hand mudra and sit quietly for a moment, observing the breath and its effects.


Gentle Pressure

Apply gentle pressure when closing and releasing the nostrils to avoid discomfort.


Keep the facial muscles and shoulders relaxed throughout the practice.


Regular practice enhances the balancing effects of Nadi Shodhana.

Nadi Shodhana Pranayama is suitable for practitioners of all levels and is often recommended for calming the mind and balancing energy channels. If you have respiratory conditions or concerns, or if you experience discomfort during the practice, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional or a qualified yoga instructor before incorporating Nadi Shodhana Pranayama into your routine.

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