Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

All You Need to Know About Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

What’s inside?

  • What is Nadi Shodhana Pranayama?
  • Benefits of Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
  • Instruction on how to do Nadi Shodhana Pranayama?  
  • Tips for practicing Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

Simply defined pranayama is an ancient breath technique in yoga. It is an art of breathing in yogic science.  The various techniques in pranayama enable you to control your breathing in different styles.  Why do you want to control your breath?  When you regulate your breath, you become invincible of your mind. Prana, or life force is essential for our existence on earth. Doing pranayama means expanding the capability to retain the prana. There are various methods to achieve this. Breathing exercises are one way and Nadi Shodhana Pranayama is the best practice for balancing energy flow in our body.

This article discusses about Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, its benefits, and how to incorporate the practice in your daily life.

What is Nadi Shodhana Pranayama?

The Sanskrit word Nadi literally means channel or flow of energy and Shodhana means purification, therefore Nadi Shodhana is the purification of pranic channels.  Nadi Shodhana is the most important practice of purification of Nadis. Normally, Nadi Shodhana is practiced for a  certain amount of time before doing any other pranayama exercises.

Nadi Shodhana cleanses nadis and it uses Bandhas which means locks to control the flow of energy.  Bandhas have a key role in the practice of pranayama. Bandhas are practiced to strengthen the sphincters in the physical and astral body. The three main bandhas are Moola Bandha, uddiyana Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha.


Pranayama Yoga

Benefits of Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

  • Very good to improve respiratory health
  • Rewarding effect on nervous system
  • Improves our lungs capacity maximum
  • Balances hormones and releases toxins
  • Suitable to balance and centre the energy of the body
  • Reduce stress and anxiety in a short time
  • Enhances concentration and awareness
  • Beneficial in regulating digestive system strong removing constipation and acidity in the body
  • Maintains body temperature.

Instruction on how to do Nadi Shodhana Pranayama? 

Nadi Shodhana is practiced by controlling the inhalation, exhalation, retention, and the direction of the breath. Breath is inhaled, retained, and exhaled in a particular ratio here.

  • Sit in comfortable position shoulders and hips loose, spine and neck straight, head erect and eyes closed
  • Keep the left hand on your left knee. Open your palms upward or in Chin Mudra (tip of the index finger and thump touches whereas the rest of the fingers are extended)
  • Bring your right hand in Vishnu Mudra (bending the index finger and the middle finger) Use the right thumb to close the right nostril and the right ring finger and pinky fingers (together) to close the left nostril.
  • Exhale completely
  • Close the right nostril with the right thumb and inhale through the left nostril
  • Now using the ring and pinky fingers  close the left nostril and release right nostril
  • Keep the left nostril closed, inhale through the right nostril
  • Now close the right nostril with right thumb and simultaneously release the left nostril and exhale through the left nostril
  • One round is completed. Now breath like this with alternate nostrils
  • At least perform five to nine full cycles of this breath between the nostrils.
  • Make sure you always inhale through the same nostril you just exhaled through

Tips for practicing Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

Noise-free environment: A well-ventilated place with light and fresh air is ideal for practicing Nadi Shodhana Pranayama. It not only improves your mood, having a calm, dedicated space shows your attitude towards the practice.

Clean body clean mind: While giving practice to your mind do not forget about your body. Your outer body is the representation of your mind so physical cleanliness is a must.

 Practice should be dawn or dusk: The practice which has effect on our nervous system is best to be performed during morning time or evening during sunset.

Have a clear mind: Be focused. Try to concentrate on your breath. Focus your mind as it should be calm and free from negativity and sensual cravings. After all, you have to be in a most comfortable position. You can use slow music or instrumental music for concentration purposes.

Start on an empty stomach: You have to make sure that you have taken your last meal at least two to four hours before the practice.

Pranayama after asana: After your pranayama practice, you can give a gap of 20-30 minutes.  It says ideally pranayama should be practiced after asana and before meditation.

Keep up your Position: Sit in a comfortable mediation pose cross-legged on the floor or sit on a chair at ease. Keep your spine and neck straight and do not droop or hunch back. You may feel pain in your hands as your hands are hanging during the entire practice without a movement in their position. You can stop the practice and relax for a while. Continue the practice after that.

The breath should be subtle and effortless: No exertion should be used during inhale, exhale, or retention. Breathe gracefully with consciousness. Understand your breathing pattern and enjoy the entire process.   It may be the difficult first time. But, day by day, as you improve, you will get there.  Make sure you never force when you breathe.  Your breath should be gentle and flow naturally.

Learn from a qualified teacher:  There are many resources where you can self-study Nadi Shodhanan Pranayama. But the guidance of an experienced teacher is necessary during your initial practice. If done wrong, it can damage the practitioner. Moreover, there are many variations in the Nadi Shodana practice consisting of different duration for the inhalation and exhalation, you have to learn all these advanced forms from an experienced qualified teacher.

Practice regularly: Be it a vigorous workout or a peaceful meditation, the best result is assured for ones who perfect it by practicing. Consistency is the key. Since this breathing technique does not require much time or effort like asana. You can practice even for ten minutes on a regular basis which will have a high impact soon.


Pranayama is the regulation of not only breath but energy too. It is possible to control your mind and body if you regulate your breath.  Nadi Shodhana is a simple yet powerful tool that soothes the mind and battles the stresses of everyday life. Make a habit of practicing breathing techniques like this to have a significant impact on your general well-being.

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