Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
Breathing exercises (pranayama) is something we practice in all Office Yoga classes. The benefits of breath work are far too great to ignore. Pranayama is an easy way to remedy stress and bring the mind and nervous system back into balance. In addition, most people find breath work easier to do than meditation. It’s a great starting point, especially for beginners in Office Yoga.
Alternate Nostril Breathing (also known as nadi shodhana pranayama) is a great exercise for any condition. This breathing technique will help bring the nervous system back to balance. It activates and harmonizes the right and left sides of the brain- the creative, intuitive side and the logical, practical side. This technique also calms the mind and brings you into the present moment.
This Office Yoga video demonstrates the most basic form of nadi shodhana, inhaling and exhaling without retention. Try this practice daily, without break.
1 round= inhale LEFT, exhale RIGHT, inhale RIGHT, exhale LEFT
Week 1: 5-10 rounds (approx 2 min)
Week 2: 15-20 rounds (approx 5 min)
Week 3: set a timer for 10 min, don’t stop until the timer goes off.
If you are able to fully complete this schedule, then you can move on to nadi shodhana with retention (holding the breath).
- Calms and centers the mind
- Brings the mind to the present moment and out of the past (releasing old fears, regret, and worry)
- Therapeutic for the circulatory and respiratory systems
- Stress relieving and relaxing for the body and mind
- Helps harmonize the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which correlate to the logical and emotional sides of our personality.
- Helps purify and balance the nadis, the subtle energy channels, thereby ensuring smooth flow of prana (life force) through the body.
- Maintains body temperature.
- Do not force the breathing – keep it gentle and natural. Do not breathe through the mouth or make any sound such as in Uujayi breath.
- Place the fingers very lightly on the forehead and nose. There is no need to apply any pressure.
- If you feel tired after practicing Alternate Nostril Breath, notice how long your inhalations and exhalations are when performing the exercise. Make your exhalation longer than your inhalation if not doing so already.