Alternate nostril breath
Alternate nostril breath is a form of yogic pranayama and is practiced in many forms of yoga. It is also known as Nadi Shodhana It is an appropriate breathing technique for almost anyone and its benefits are enormous.
What is Alternate Nostril Breath?
Alternate nostril breath is a breathing technique where the practitioner alternates inhales and exhales from one nostril to the next. The nose is the only organ in the body other than sexual organs that contain erectile tissue which is tissue that controls the size and shape of the nasal passages. This tissue is responsible for controlling the flow of air through the nasal passages.
Breathing naturally alternates from one nostril to the next almost every 2 hours. Individuals are not aware of this occuring as the change happens on its own. Generally when individuals suffer from congestion in one nostril, it stops the natural alternating air flow from left to right nostril. And can lead to great problems.
Alternate Nostril breathing helps to direct the flow of prana and purify the nostrils.
How to Practice Alternate Nostril Breath
1. Sit in a comfortable seated position, and begin your Ujjai breath
2. Hold your right hand up and turn your pointer and middle finger down, curling them into your palm. This leaves the thumb and ring and pinky fingers available.
3. You will use your thumb to close your right nostril and your ring and pinky fingers to close your left nostrils.
4. You will begin by covering your left nostril first and inhaling (slowly- 2 counts) thru the right nostril.
5. You will then close the right nostril and with thumb and hold the breath (for 4- 8 counts, depending on experience level).
6. Then release the ring and pinky fingers from the left nostril and slowly exhale (4 counts.)
7. Inhale in the left nostril, close the left nostril and hold for 4-8 counts before releasing the thumb and exhaling out the right nostril.
8. Inhale in the right nostril, hold and repeat exhale and inhale on the left side.
When NOT to practice Alternate Nostril Breath
Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breath
Like all forms of pranayama, alternate nostril breath helps to direct the flow of prana, or the body's life force, throughout the body. It is the practice of breathing that separates yoga from other forms of physical excercise. Some of the benefits of this type of breath are: