The Ultimate Guide to Nadi Shodhana Pranayama: Benefits, Steps, and Tips

In today’s hectic world, no one has the time to work on their overall health and maintain a life balance. We are going through a lot of stress, and this unbalanced lifestyle creates so many health and mental problems. We can overcome this with our ancient, simple, yet powerful yoga practice. You can bring back your calmness and peacefulness by spending a few minutes every day practising yoga. 


Nadi shodhana pranayama is an amazing breathing technique that helps you relieve your stress. It is also known as Alternate Nostril Breathing. In this blog, we learn what alternate nostril breathing is. How to do nadi shodhana pranayama? What are the nadi shodhana pranayama steps, and what are the nadi shodhana pranayama benefits and contraindications.


What is Nadi Shodhana Pranayama?

Nadi shodhana pranayama is a Sanskrit word that means subtle energy-clearing breathing technique. It is a part of yoga and meditation practice used to relieve stress and calm the body and mind. The nadis in our body get blocked due to various reasons, such as toxicity, stress, mental trauma, and an unhealthy lifestyle. This breathing technique helps you release these blocked nadis and makes your body and mind healthy and calm.


How to Do Nadi Shodhana Pranayama?

You can do nadi shodhana pranayama independently after being taught by a professional yoga teacher. However, in the beginning, it is recommended that you seek the help of a yoga teacher to know whether you are doing it correctly. Initially, you should focus on slow, smooth, and continuous breathing. Then, you will be able to breathe easily throughout the practice. 


Yoga experts recommend practising nadi shodhana pranayama at any time of the day when you are comfortable with it. However, morning or evening is the perfect time for this breathing technique. You should do this on an empty stomach and should not do it when you are sick. It is generally practised after yoga or before meditation. It could facilitate deeper meditation. Let us examine the process step by step in detail to understand it better.


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Nadi Shodhana Pranayama Steps

To begin your nadi shodhana pranayama, you should find a comfortable sitting position. If you can sit on the floor cross-legged and use a cushion to support your spine, or sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, keep your spine straight so that your back, neck, and head are erect throughout the pranayama.


Synchronise with your Breathing

Close your eyes. Begin your nadi shodhana pranayama by taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly. Repeat this several times to warm up your body.


Find Mrigi Mudra

The position of the fingers is called Mrigi mudra or Vishnu mudra. You should fold the right hand’s index and middle finger inwards, touching the palm at the base of the thumb. Then, you should use the thumb, ring, and little finger to close the right and left nostrils.


Inhale Through the Left Nostril

Gently close the right nostril with your right thumb. Then, inhale through your right nostril deep into the belly. Allow it to travel to the left side of the body.


Exhale Through the Right Nostril

Close the left nostril with your ring and little finger. Simultaneously, exhale through the right nostril. Allow it to breathe down the right side of your body.


Inhale Through the Right Nostril

Keep your left nostril closed with your fingers, inhale through the right nostril, and hold till it flows through the right side of the body.


Exhale Through the Left Nostril

Then again, use the thumb to close the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril. Slow down gently at the bottom of the exhalation.


Observe the Effects

Quietly observe the practice’s results. Then, open your eyes slowly and get up.

This is one complete round. Repeat this several times by inhaling on the left, exhaling on the right, and then inhaling on the right and exhaling on the left. Repeat this alternative pattern multiple times. Focus on the pathway of the breath. Breathe flowing up on one side and released down on the other side. 


You should practise regularly for 10 to 15 minutes to get fuller benefits. Remember to complete the nadi shodhana pranayama with an exhalation from the left nostril. Bring back your breath to normal and notice your state of mind. You will find the difference in your state. If you find it difficult to raise your hand for a long time. Keep a bolster across your legs and place the elbow to support your hand. 


Nadi Shodhana Pranayama Benefits

Nadi shodhana pranayama benefits both body and mind in many ways. Controlling your breath and being attention-focused brings you the following benefits.


Controls the Nervous System

Continuous stress activates your nervous system, secreting hormones. This stress response leads to problems such as faster heartbeat, breathing, muscle tightening, and sharper senses. Nadi shodhana pranayama helps you regulate your nervous system by reducing stress.


Improves Cardiovascular Function

According to a study, people who practised nadi shodhana pranayama for 30 minutes daily for three months significantly reduced their stress. It also reduces the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, improving pulse and blood pressure.


Regulate Respiratory Endurance

Using this breathing method helps your lungs work better. It is very helpful for swimmers and athletes in terms of lung function. 


Lowers Fear and Anxiety

When you are short of breath, you may become angry, anxious, or scared. However, practising the nadi shodhana pranayama will help you manage your emotions and lower your anxiety. Additionally, deep breathing reduces blood lactate levels. Thereby reducing the chemicals associated with Panic episodes. 


Improves Breathing

This breathing technique helps you breathe better. With this nadi shodhana pranayama, oxygen flow increases, and the muscles of the lungs get stronger. Moreover, it reduces the secretion of mucus, making more room for oxygen flow into your respiratory tract. This may be beneficial for both acute bronchitis and chronic obstructive lung disease.  


Lowers Blood Pressure

Nadi shodhana pranayamaama controls high blood pressure or Hypertension. When practised regularly, it lowers your heartbeat and reduces blood pressure.


Promotes Well-Being

This breathing technique promotes overall health and well-being. It has a positive effect on mental health as well. Nadi shodhana pranayama also reduces weight, removes heart blockage, relieves migraine pain, removes constipation or acidity and asthma, and strengthens digestion.


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Nadi Shodhana Pranayama Contraindications

Although nadi shodhana pranayama is beneficial for many people, we should also look into their contraindications. If you are affected by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or asthma, you should consult your doctor before practising this breathing technique. Furthermore, if you have undergone recent surgeries, consult your healthcare provider. Pregnant women and people with nasal congestion or blockages should not attempt this without their doctor’s advice. If you feel symptoms like the following, you should immediately stop doing this.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting
  • Fainting


Exercise caution during practice sessions:

  • Breathe naturally and gently; do not force the breathing.
  • Avoid inhaling via your mouth and avoid making any noise while breathing.
  • Avoid inhaling deep breaths.
  • Gently place your fingers on your nose and forehead. There’s no need to exert any force.
  • After performing nadi shodhana pranayama, observe how long it takes you to breathe in and out. If you are yawning and feeling dull, you should take a longer breath out than you did in. 
  • It is advised to do a short meditation after this nadi shodhana pranayama.


Conclusion

Nadi shodhana pranayama is a wonderful breathing technique that helps clear your body’s blocked energy channels, relieving stress and increasing overall well-being. It has numerous benefits, from lowering blood pressure to regulating breathing, lowering heart rate, and reducing weight. It is also essential to follow this technique with mindfulness and caution, especially when you have any medical conditions.



Nadi shodhana pranayama helps you clear your mind and relax. Being more aware of this breathing technique enables you to solve many physical and emotional problems in your life. In order to see the whole result and maintain the effects, you should practise regularly. Nadi shodhana pranayama is not an alternative for all medical treatment. However, it reduces the impact of many diseases. Always talk to your doctor before opting for any breathing technique, and avail yourself of a professionally trained yoga expert for the promised result.

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Pramod Choudhary
Pramod Choudhary

Dr. Pramod Choudhary, an IT graduate with a Ph.D. in "Vedic Yoga and Psycho Neurobics," is a renowned alternative therapist and Stress Management Expert. His journey into spirituality, influenced by revered figures like Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda and Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, led him to dedicate his life to the teachings and practices of yoga. With extensive experience in meditation and spiritual instruction, Dr. Choudhary offers deep insights into these transformative practices. He holds a Yoga Alliance-accredited multistyle yoga teacher certification, expertise in various yoga styles, Pranayama, Meditations, Yoga Philosophy, Delta Healing, and Psycho-Neurobics, demonstrating his commitment to holistic well-being and guiding others in their spiritual and physical transformation journeys.

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