Clearing the Mind Through Nadi Sodhana - Alternate Nostril Breathing

It can be very easy to forget about our breath, after all it is the one thing that thankfully we do without thinking, however it can be used in such a powerful way to help us in all aspects of life. When we focus our attention on our breath and practice exercises or techniques (know as pranayama) it can have such wonderful benefits such as feeling more calm or balanced, energising the body or even clearing a busy mind.

Nadi Sodhana, alternate nostril breathing, is an excellent breathing technique to create a sense of balance.

This particular breathing exercise balances the left and right sides of the brain, the yin and yang, in the yogis perspective this is know as the two energetic channels Ida and Pingala. We are often more dominant in one side of the brain, and therefore one nostril, and this can be due to our personalities, life circumstances or even simply the time of day.

Practicing this breathing exercise can help create a sense of clarity in the mind, while also bringing us into balance.

Here are the steps:

  • Take your right hand and curl your index finger and middle finger into your palm (as shown below)

  • Then place your thumb on your right nostril and breath out through the left side. Inhale though the left side, then place your two little fingers down to block your left nostril and exhale through the right nostril.

  • Inhale though this same right side and place the thumb down to block off the right nostril and breath out through the left side. Continue breathing in this way, alternating between sides.

  • With this technique you can’t to make sure your breaths are long and slow as well as being equal on each side.

  • Once you have done a few rounds you can finish by exhaling through the right side.

  • Then release your hand down and just take a few moments with the eyes closed to breath normally and notice the difference.

You may notice that one side is more open than the other, especially if you have any sinus problems, and note that this is normal and should balance out a little during the exercise. This technique also helps with clearing the mind, is great for people who suffer wit headaches and migraines and can also help with hay fever.