A Simple Balancing Practice

by Barrie Risman

Alternate Nostril Breathing, or Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, is one of the simplest and quickest ways to create balance in yourself. It works with two principle nadis, the subtle energetic channels that move the active and receptive polarities of energy through the body.  The Ida nadi begins at the left nostril, and carries the receptive, cooling, lunar energy. The pingala nadi begins at the right nostril and conveys the active, heating, or solar energy. In this breathing exercise, the flow of energy through the two channels is equalized, bringing about a state of balance.

Practice points:

  • Do this anytime you wish. Even as little as 2-3 minutes of this practice is effective.
  • A few minutes of this exercise is an excellent preparation for seated meditation.
  • This practice should feel easy. Do it with whatever breath you have. No forcing, no straining.

Instructions for Alternate Nostril Breathing:

Sit in a comfortable, upright posture.

With your right hand, use your thumb to close off the right nostril, and your ring and little finger to close off the left.

Take a breath in. At the top of your inhalation, close off the left nostril and breathe out through the right. Then,

  1. Breathe in through the right nostril
  2. Breathe out through the left
  3. Breathe in through the left
  4. Out through the right
  5. In through the right
  6. Out through the left

Continue in this way, concluding with an inhalation through the right.

balance

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