Using Nadi Sodhana Pranayama to Achieve Balance, Clarity, and Peace
Sadly, the world is in a hurry and life is passing us by. If we could only eliminate ten of the items on our 20-item “to-do” lists, we could perhaps find ourselves on a path to some balance, clarity, and peace. Though many are told to rid their lives of unnecessary “things” and slow down the warp speed pace, they still don’t listen. A nod of acknowledgement gets them off the hook and on their way they go back to the daily grind. Somewhere out there exists a select few who have taken the path to peace, or rather, found the path to peace. A path where each step unfolds into a beautiful journey. This is a quest that will come at no cost, and have many, rich rewards. Call it an alchemy of sorts where wisdom is gained through prayer, breath, and silence. Though silence is necessary for authentic meditation and prayer, there are actions necessary to achieve enlightenment. Arriving at a place where there is no judgment, no competition or expectations. Yoga, in any form, brings us to this place. When we use karma (which means action), it is a force causing good things or bad things to come to us. Since it is really our own inner conditionings and processes that are leading us to experience outer effects or consequences in relation to our own actions, we must continually monitor our choices for the self to rest in its true nature. Yes, mind games. Or let’s say mind balance. One way to achieve this balance is through relaxation. We can achieve relaxation through our breathing. In many forms of yoga the three-part breath is used. Before final Savasana, or any time we need to fight off stress, we can perform Nadi Sodhana Pranayama = nostril breathing. Purification of (energy) channels through nostril breathing is balancing, relaxing, and calming. Thus, eases stress through lowering heart rate, synchronizes the two hemispheres of the brain, synchronizes breathe through continued practice and can ultimately lead to spiritual awakening. If you are unable to breathe through either side of the nose, you will not be able to perform this practice. The air must be able to move without obstruction to perform the pranayama (breathe). Wait until you are clear or use the Jala Neti Pot technique.
1. Sit in a comfortable cross legged position on a cushion to ensure a straight spine.
2. Relax the entire body by closing your eyes.
3. Begin with your right hand in Vishnu Mudra: fold your pointer and middle fingers into your palm, leaving your thumb, ring finger, and pinky sticking up.
4. Bring your thumb to the right side of your nose and your ring finger to the left side.
5. Close off your right nostril with your thumb.
6. Inhale through your left nostril for eight counts or until you reach your full and comfortable inhalation.
7. Close off your left nostril with your ring finger.
8. Open and exhale through your right nostril again for equal counts.
9. Inhale through your right nostril.
10. Close off your right nostril with your thumb.
11. Open and exhale through your left nostril.
12. Inhale through your left nostril.
13. Continue alternating 5 to 10 times.
This technique can be used on your own or incorporated into your yoga practice. Just remember, breathe long and deep, close your eyes, feel the sun on your face, the wind in your hair, and the beat of your own heart….