Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)

  • This Pranayama (breath control) entails inhaling in one nostril and exhaling out the opposite nostril.  I will be describing the moon-piercing breath (Chandra Bhedana) since I have found it to be the most calming version. It considers your left side of your body, the Yin, which is the restful and cooling side.  The opposite is the right side of your body, the Yang, which is the active and hotter side.  All your inhales will occur via your left nostril.  All your exhales will be done in your right nostril.  If you like a visual, the breath goes in and out in a clockwise fashion.      
  • Have a tissue ready since this tends to clear out sinus blockages and can help during allergy season.  This is a relaxing breath to do before a big meeting or something you know that elevates your stress levels.  It is also a nice one to do right before going to sleep.
  • Steps to perform this breath:
    • Take either hand and curl in your first and middle fingers into your palm.  Bring your thumb to the outside of one of your nostrils.  Your ring and pinkie fingers will be on the outside of your other nostril. 
    • Block your right nostril, inhale left.
    • Block your left nostril, exhale right.
    • Continue this breath for one to three minutes.  Each breath should be slow, controlled and deep.