Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)
This is a simple breath work that can be performed by anybody. Performing it for just a few minutes every day is great for releasing accumulated stress, tention and fatigue. It helps to clear and calm the mind.
Nadi Shodhana is a very calming breath so practicing it right before going to bed will help your body and mind relax and get a deep restfull night sleep.
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
(Alternate Nostril Breathing).
Technique: 1. Sit in a comfortable position, rock from side to side to move the flesh away form sit bones, draw in your abdomen, roll shoulders away from ears and establish your Jalandhara Bandha by bringing your neck in alignment with your spine and slightly tucking your chin.
2.Rest your left hand on your left knee. Place the tip of the index finger and middle finger of the right hand in between the eyebrows, the ring finger and little finger on the left nostril, and the thumb on the right nostril. We will use the ring finger and little finger to open or close the left nostril and thumb for the right nostril.
3.Press your thumb down on the right nostril and breathe out gently through the left nostril.
4.Now breathe in from the left nostril and then press the left nostril gently with the ring finger and little finger. Removing the right thumb from the right nostril, breathe out from the right.
6.Breathe in from the right nostril and exhale from the left. You have now completed one round of Nadi Shodhana pranayama.
For the beginning complete at least 9 of such rounds.
* Every time you inhale and exhale think "Full Yogic Breath" (also called "Three Part Yogic Breath" ) and make sure you engage all three parts of your breathing apparatus: lower part (your belly), middle part (your rib cage) and upper part (chest and collar bone). Three Part Yogic Breath helps establish full and complete inhalations and exhalations. It ventilates thoroughly through entire breathing system, pushing the used air out from the very botoom of our lungs.
Here are brief instructions on how to perform this breath:
inhale into your low belly, feeling it expands as a baloon (sometimes it can be challenging to isolate low belly. In this case I always recommend that a student rests the left palm on the low belly. Breathing "into the palm" usually helps greadually develop awareness of this particular area of the body).
keep inhaling further into your rib cage, expanding side, front and back ribs
fill in your upper chest, finishing your inhalation at the very top, indernearth the collarbone.
Exhale completely in the opposite direction: upper chest, ribs and low abdomen (DON'T force the exhalations! Allow air to leave the lungs naturally, on its own. Only at the very botton of the exhalation gently squeeze the belly towards the spine to let all the residiual air that tends to always sit at the very bottom of the lungs out).