Alternate Nostril Breathing:
What is Nadi shodhana, or the sweet breath?
It's a simple form of alternate nostril breathing. Great for beginning and advanced students. Nadi means channel and refers to the energy pathways through which prana flows. Shodhana means cleansing -- so Nadi Shodhana means channel cleaning.
Calms the mind, soothes anxiety and stress, balances left and right hemispheres, promotes clear thinking
How to do it
Hold your right hand up and curl your index and middle fingers toward your palm. Place your thumb next to your right nostril and your ring finger and pinky by your left.
Close the right nostril by pressing gently against it with your thumb, and inhale through the left nostril. The breath should be slow, steady and full.
Now close the left nostril by pressing gently against it with your ring finger and pinky, and open your right nostril by relaxing your thumb and exhale fully with a slow and steady breath.
Inhale through the right nostril, close it, and then exhale through the left nostril.
That's one complete round of Nadi Shodhana --
Inhale through the left
Exhale through the right
Inhale through the right nostril
Exhale through the left
Begin with 5-10 rounds and add more as you feel ready. Remember to keep your breathing slow, easy and full.
When to do it?
As a mental warm-up before meditation to help calm the mind and put you in the mood.
As part of your centering before beginning an asana or posture routine.
Also try it at times throughout the day. Nadi Shodhana helps control stress and anxiety. If you start to feel stressed out, 10 or so rounds will help calm you down. It also helps soothe anxiety caused by fearful or stressful situations i.e. flying, public speaking.
There's always more to learn about yoga and in turn, learn about yourself.