Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

‘Nadi’ means ‘Channel’ or ‘Flow’ of energy and ‘Shodhana’ means ‘Purification’. Therefore, Nadi Shodhana means the practice which purifies the nadis.

This pranayama is also known by other names like Nadi Shuddhi / Anuloma Viloma.

The right nostril represents Pingala nadi (Sun Principle or energy) and the left nostril represents Ida nadi (Moon principle or mind). According to Hatha Yoga, many adverse health conditions occur due to imbalance between Ida and Pingala nadis.

Benefits : Why you should practice this pranayama

  • Provides oxygen supply to the whole body
  • Induces calming of the mind
  • Improves clarity of thought & concentration
  • Lowers anxiety & stress levels
  • Balances energy flow within the body which helps to practice deeper meditation

Besides health benefits like enhanced lung capacity and better blood circulation, this Pranayama removes all blockages in both the nadis, therefore giving a chance to the sushumna nadi (Central channel) to open up which may lead to spiritual awakening.

Steps to follow the Practice

Seating Position

Any comfortable posture. Spine & head should be straight. Facial muscles and shoulders relaxed. Eyes & mouth should remain closed.

Palms Position

  • One of the palms in ‘Nasika Mudra’ – Index & Middle fingers folded towards the root of the thumb. Ring & little finger kept straight together
  • Other palm is kept open facing up, placed on the knee relaxed


  • Adopt the ‘Nasika Mudra’ with the right hand
  • Close the right nostril with the thumb & exhale through the left nostril
  • Inhale through the left nostril, close the left nostril using ring & little fingers
  • Open the right nostril & exhale slowly & completely. Inhale through the same nostril
  • Close the right & open the left nostril & exhale slowly & completely
  • This completes one round. Repeat it for 10 rounds

During The Practice

  • Bring the awareness to the breath & the count every time mind wanders away
  • Try to slow down both inhalation & exhalation
  • No holding of breath throughout the practice
  • Make the breathing subtle/silent as possible
  • With continued practice, make the exhalation little longer than inhalation
  • Both breathing in & out to be done based on one’s capacity. Do not strain by extending beyond the normal capacity
  • Stop the practice immediately at any sign of discomfort

When to practice?

  • Preferably early mornings on empty stomach after asana practice
  • If taken meals, give a gap of at least 3hours before the practice

Common Mistakes

  • Head turned towards sides
  • Dropping the chin down while practicing
  • Shoulders lifted up
  • Facial muscles tightened


  • Do not practice if your nose is fully blocked
  • Avoid if you have high fever

Bharat Yoga Vidya Kendra, an initiative of The Satsang Foundation, conducts various yoga programs and courses throughout the year.

About The Satsang Foundation

The Satsang Foundation, founded by Sri M, is a meeting point for spiritual seekers of all persuasions. The Satsang Foundation also extends a helping hand to the less privileged of society.