¨Nadi¨ means channel and ¨Shodhana¨ means cleaning, purification. It is also called Anuloom – Viloom Pranayam. If we neglect the physical, subtle or mental aspects of our being, we run the risk to fall sick. Before we learn about the 13 Nadi Shodhana pranayama benefits we need to understand the following:
The physical body stores prana (vital force), which is divided according to its interaction with the air, water, fire, air, and ether. Then it manifests into more gross forms of energy; mechanical, chemical, thermal and electrical in order to transform the matter. It requires constant care to maintaining the integrity of these energies and to balance the body and the mind. Excess energy can create an excessive function, and in decreased function the voltage falls, causing depression or loss of function.
13 Benefits of practicing Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
1. Balances the nervous system. Reduces stress, relieves nervousness, anxiety, depression and neurological problems.
2. Lowers heart rate and keeps away heart-related problems.
3. It assists in the rejuvenation of the cells. Excellent for glowing skin.
4. Synchronize the two hemispheres of the brain. Provides mental clarity and more ability for concentration.
5. Purifies the subtle energy channels of the body so the prana flows more, releasing possible blockages. Balances the masculine and feminine energies
6. Also purifies the blood, bringing more oxygen to the blood.
7. Improves blood circulation, removing blockages from the vessels and arteries.
8. Prevents diabetes.
9. Strengthens the respiratory system, cleansing the lungs. Alleviates respiratory allergies that cause hay fever and sneezing. Cures asma.
10. It reduces headaches and migraine.
11. Really helps to balance the hormones
12. Restores gastric problems.
13. It supports the body to expel toxins and unwanted waste.
Steps to practice Nadi Shodana Pranayama
1. Sit in a comfortable position. Close your right nostril with your thumb. Inhale through your left nostril.
2. Then close your left nostril with your little or ring finger, and exhale slowly through the right nostril.
3. Maintain the right nostril open, inhale, then close it. Open and exhale slowly through the left. This would be one cycle.
4. Repeat slowly. Traditionally Nadi Shodhana includes breath retention, inhaling counting 7, retention counting 4, exhaling count 8. But for beginners, it’s best to focus only on the inhales and exhales.
Practicing Nadi Shodhana for 5 minutes daily on empty stomach can be a wonderful experience, but on regular basis for ten to fifteen minutes alternated with deep breathing provides much deeper benefits.