Friday, April 2, 2021

Nadi Shodhana Pranayama - 2

Technique 2: Alternate nostril breathing 

In this technique the basic pattern of alternate nostril breathing is established. 

Stage 1

Begin with equal inhalation and exhalation, using the ratio 1:1. 

Close the right nostril with the thumb and inhale through the left nostril. 

At the same time count mentally, “1, Om; 2, Om; 3, Om”, until the inhalation ends comfortably. This is the basic count. 

Breathe deeply without strain. 

Close the left nostril with the ring finger and release the pressure of the thumb on the right nostril. While exhaling through the right nostril, simultaneously count, “1, Om; 2, Om; 3, Om”. The time for inhalation and exhalation should be equal. 

Next, inhale through the right nostril, keeping the same count in the same manner. 

At the end of inhalation, close the right nostril and open the left nostril. 

Exhale through the left nostril, counting as before. 

This is one round. 

Practise 5 to10 rounds. 


After one week, if there is no difficulty, increase the length of inhalation and exhalation by one count. 

Continue to increase the count in this way until the count of 10:10 is reached. 

Do not force the breath in any way. 

Be careful not to speed up the counting during exhalation to compensate for shortage of breath. 

Reduce the count at the slightest sign of discomfort. 

Stage 2

After perfecting the above 1:1 ratio, it may be changed to 1:2. 

Initially halve the length of the inhalation. Inhale for a count of 5 and exhale for a count of 10. 

Repeat on the other side. 

This is one round. 

Practise 5 to10 rounds. 


During the ensuing months of practice, continue extending the breath by adding one count to the inhalation and two to the exhalation, up to the count of 10: 20. 

When this technique can be performed with complete ease, move on to technique 3. 


Stage 2 of technique 2 begins the process of introversion, which is not recommended for a depressed or withdrawn person. The extension of stage 2, involving longer counts, is not recommended for people with heart problems. 


Technique 2 gives more pronounced balancing of the breath and the brain hemispheres. It has calming effects and relieves anxiety, improves concentration and stimulates ajna chakra. 

The ratio 1:1 in stage 1 establishes a calming rhythm for the brain and heart, assisting people with cardiovascular and nervous disorders specifically, and stress-related conditions generally. 

As the count is extended, the breath slows down. The respiration becomes more efficient because the air flow is smoother and less turbulent. This ratio helps people with respiratory problems such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis. 

The ratio 1:2 in stage 2 gives profound relaxation. The heartbeat and pulse rate slow, and blood pressure drops, but the extension of count should be built up slowly.

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