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Nadi Shodhan: The Art of Balance through Alternate Nostril Breathing


In the world of holistic health, alternate nostril breathing, known as Nadi Shodhan in Sanskrit, is gaining recognition. Its potential to promote harmony and balance in the body and mind makes is unique. In this article, we will explore what Nadi Shodhan is, how to practice it, and the many benefits it offers for your overall well-being.

Understanding Nadi Shodhan

Nadi Shodhan is a yogic breathing technique rooted in ancient Indian traditions. “Nadi” translates to “channel,” and “Shodhan” means “purification” or “cleansing.” This technique is believed to cleanse and balance the body’s energy channels, creating a sense of equilibrium.

How Nadi Shodhan Works

Nadi Shodhan involves alternating the breath between the left and right nostrils. It uses specific hand positions to control airflow. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Find a Comfortable Seated Position: Sit in a comfortable, cross-legged position with your spine straight and shoulders relaxed.

Use Your Right Hand: Use your right thumb to block your right nostril and your right ring finger to block your left nostril. Your remaining fingers can rest lightly on your forehead.

Close Your Eyes: Close your eyes to help focus your attention inward.

Start with Exhalation: Begin by exhaling completely through both nostrils, ensuring your lungs are empty.

Inhale through the Left Nostril: Close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale through your left nostril, counting to four as you do so.

Hold the Breath: Close both nostrils (thumb on right, ring finger on left) and hold the breath for a count of four.

Exhale through the Right Nostril: Release your right nostril and exhale through it, counting to four.

Inhale through the Right Nostril: Keep your left nostril closed and inhale through your right nostril for a count of four.

Hold the Breath: Close both nostrils again, holding the breath for a count of four.

Exhale through the Left Nostril: Release your left nostril and exhale through it for a count of four.

Repeat the Cycle: This completes one round. Continue for several rounds, gradually increasing the duration as you become more comfortable with the technique.

The Science Behind It


Nadi Shodhan is more than a simple breathing exercise; it taps into the science of breath control and energy balance:

Balances the Nervous System: It balances the activity of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. It promotes relaxation and reduces stress.

Enhances Lung Function: The alternate nostril breathing pattern ensures both lungs receive equal air. It improves overall lung function and oxygenation of the body.

Mental Clarity: This practice enhances mental clarity and concentration. Thus, it makes an excellent tool for focus and productivity.

Stress Reduction: Regular practice can significantly reduce stress levels and help manage anxiety and tension.

Benefits of Nadi Shodhan


Stress Management: It is a powerful tool for managing stress and anxiety, allowing you to regain a sense of calm and composure.

Enhanced Focus: The practice enhances concentration and mental clarity, making it beneficial for tasks that require sustained attention.

Improved Respiratory Health: It helps improve lung function, enhancing overall respiratory health.

Balanced Energy: It is believed to balance the body’s energy channels, fostering physical and emotional equilibrium.


Nadi Shodhan, or alternate nostril breathing, offers a simple yet profound way to enhance your overall well-being. Incorporating this ancient yogic technique into your daily routine can help you manage stress, improve focus, and promote physical and emotional balance. So, take a few moments each day to practice Nadi Shodhan, and experience the profound benefits of harmonizing your body and mind. With every mindful breath, you move closer to inner peace and well-being.

Read more on box breathing.

Read more on other techniques of breathing.