How do you relax your nervous system through the Nadi Shodhana Prānayāma technique?

Nadi Shodhana Prānayāma is a simple, yet powerful breathing technique to relax your nervous system.

Nadi Shodhana pranayama literally means purification of “nadis” where “nadis” cannot be translated into English. According to Swami Sivananda (1887–1963), a great spiritual master, “Nadis are the astral tubes made up of astral matter that carry the subtle Prana. It is through these Nadis that the vital force of Pranic current moves. Since these are made up of subtle matter, these cannot be seen by the naked eyes. These subtle tubes – Yoga Nadis – have influence in the physical body.” The word “shodhana” means to purify and “pranayama” means to expand the life force.

Preparation and understanding

Sit up straight on Padmasana (lotus posture). All energy outlets get joined in padmasana. If you cannot sit in the lotus posture, sit in a relaxed way with your back straight. You may like to sit before the photo of your guru/deity. Light a candle. Close your eyes. Relax your body with a few deep breaths. Remain totally aware during your deep breathing.

Breath in and breath out in a measured way. The breathing that is generally done is very irregular. The duration of inhalation and exhalation should be equal (ratio 4:8:4:8 or 6:12:6:12).

Remember: while inhaling, have a mental attitude that all divine qualities, such as peace, love, forgiveness, and joy are entering into your system along with the air. While exhaling, have a mental attitude that all negative qualities, such as lust, anger, and greed are thrown out with the air.

When the left nostril is flowing freely, the right hemisphere of the brain becomes active, and when the right nostril is flowing freely, the left hemisphere of the brain becomes active.

This breathing technique should begin through your left nostril inhaling. Whenever you hold the breath, your thoughts will stop immediately. Simply watch/witness/observe the whole process of your breathing. Key point: simply be a watcher. As an observer, you become separate from your breath and also separate from your thoughts.

One round of the Nadi Shodhana Prānayām consists of the following eight segments:

1. Inhale: Close the right nostril with the right thumb. Inhale (puraka) very, very slowly through the left nostril for 4 seconds (repeat OM four times).

2. Hold: At the end of inhalation, close the left nostril with the little and ring fingers of your right hand. Retain (internal kumbhaka) the air for 8 seconds in total silence (do not repeat anything).

3. Exhale: Then exhale (rechaka) very, very slowly through the right nostril in 4 seconds after removing the thumb from the right nostril (repeat OM four times).

4. Hold: retain the breath outside (external kumbhaka) for 8 seconds in total silence.

5. Inhale: Next, inhale (Puraka) through the right nostril (repeat OM 4 times).

6. Hold: At the end of inhalation, close the right nostril. Retain (internal kumbhaka) the air for 8 seconds in total silence (do not repeat anything).

7. Exhale: exhale (rechaka) through the left nostril (repeat OM 4 times).

8. Hold: retain the breath outside (external kumbhaka) for 8 seconds in total silence.

How easy! This completes one round of the Nadi Shodhana Prānayām technique. You can practice 5 rounds in a session. You might like to have daily four sessions at sunrise, midday, sunset, and before sleeping. Though, you can practice this measured breathing exercise anytime, anywhere.

Benefits:

1. removes diseases including cough disorders

2. purifies nadis (channels)

3. improves digestion

4. improves memory

5. reduces stress

6. awakens Kundalini energy at the Muladhara Chakra. Kundalini Yoga is the subtlest science.

I hope you enjoy tranquility using this Nadi Shodhana Prānayāma technique!

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