Your Monthly Yoga Pose
Balance and breath are two important principles in yoga. This month’s pose focuses heavily on both. In addition, it is not considered an actual pose. Nadi shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing, is part of the fourth limb of yoga called pranayama. Many people come to yoga and expect it to only be the movements, or the asana. However, yoga has eight different limbs; asana is the third. Hence, why poses in yoga movement classes usually end in “asana.”
Alternate nostril breathing cleans or purifies the left and right side. It synchronizes the two hemispheres of the brain. In addition, nadi shodhana is a way to begin pranayama or breathwork.
- Begin by bending the right pointer and right middle finger toward the right palm.
- Apply gentle pressure with the right thumb to the right nostril, closing the right nostril with the thumb.
- Deeply inhale through the left nostril.
- Using the right ring finger and right pinky finger, apply gentle pressure to the left nostril and close the left nostril.
- Release the right nostril, keeping the left shut, and fully exhale.
- Keeping the same position, inhale through the right nostril fully.
- Apply gentle pressure with the right thumb and continue releasing the left nostril to exhale.
- Repeat so each nostril inhales and exhales a minimum of 10 times.
You will notice that one side will feel more clogged or shut than the other. Our breath cycle switches about every 75 minutes, alternating between a dominant nostril breath. Practicing nadi shodhana brings awareness to the imbalance. Practicing alternate nostril breathing lowers the heart rate and reduces stress and anxiety. It is an easy practice that can be done almost anywhere!
Natalia Foote is the owner of threeR, a company bringing mindfulness, meditation and yoga practices to the workplace. Her mission in life is spreading love and light in the world. When not spending time with her family, you can find Natalia taking and teaching yoga all around Lake Nona.