Alternate Nostril Breathing, or Nadi Shodhana – Channel Clearing Breath

Nadi Shodhana means, “clearing the channels of circulation,” and is sometimes known descriptively as alternate nostril breathing. This breathing technique has a quieting effect and is very helpful in reducing mental turbulence associated with anxiety and insomnia. There are several different styles of Nadi Shodhana, all of which regulate the flow of air through your nasal passages, differing in accordance to how and when you alter the breathing pattern. The simplest procedure involves closing off alternate nostrils at the end of each inhalation.

Practice: In Nadi Shodhana you use your right hand to control the flow of breath through your nostrils. Your thumb is positioned over the right nostril, while your third or fourth fingers are over the left.

  1. Sitting comfortably, support your right elbow with left arm or a pillow.
  1. Inhale deeply, then close off the right nostril with your thumb, exhaling through the left.
  1. Smoothly inhale through the left nostril, and at the peak of the inflow, close off your left nostril with the third or fourth fingers of your right hand. Release the thumb, exhaling through the right nostril.
  1. After full exhalation, inhale through the right nostril, again closing it off with your thumb at the peak of inhalation. Release the third or fourth fingers exhaling out the left nostril.

Continue performing Nadi Shodhana for the next few breaths, following the pattern:

Inhaling through the left nostril.Exhaling through the right nostril.

Inhaling through the right nostril. Exhaling through the left.

Your breathing should be effortless, as your mind simply witnesses the process. Nadi Shodhana has a relaxing effect on your mind and body. It can be useful toquiet your mind prior to engaging in mantra meditation or when you are wanting to fall asleep. By softening the breath through Nadi Shodhana you invoke a state of calm, inner awareness. In class we’ve used spiral counting to augment our breathing practice – you can find a video with spiral counting demonstration on Satori Facebook page.

Hey, my name is Julia

Living with chronic pain has taught me to look for solutions in unlikely places –  places where most people see only problems.

Over the years I’ve gotten to be pretty good at this problem-solving and silver-lining finding thing.

So good that I felt compelled to share what I’ve learned and help others to find their sea legs while navigating, living, and winning their battle with chronic pain.