Nadi Shodhana pranayama

Nadi Shodhana pranayama is the powerful method to make a body healthy and strong, to increase energy and consciousness levels, calms down the mind and prepare it for deep meditation.

The highest rate of gas exchange in the lungs occurs during retention (holding the breath) after full inhalation. Due to the increased pressure, more oxygen goes from the lungs into the blood. The level of carbon dioxide increases in your blood and tissue and this allows total release and transfer of oxygen from the blood into the tissue cells. Slow exhalation being twice the time of inhalation, does not allow hyperventilation – too much elimination of carbon dioxide from the body. Nadi Shodhana pranayama is the best to feed the body fully with oxygen and carbon dioxide at the same time. Detailed explanation of the breath physiology find here.

The best known in yoga ratio is 1:4:2:1. Inhale for one time count, hold your breath for 4 time counts and exhale for 2 time counts, hold your breath for 1 time count. By “time count” we mean counting from 1 to 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 seconds or higher. For example, you start from 4. Then inhalation – 4 seconds, holding breath – 16 seconds, exhalation – 8 seconds, holding breath 4 seconds. Or you can do 5-20-10-5. Or 6-12-24-6 ……,10-40-20-10 and so on.

The best practice to help counting with minimal distraction is to use metronome.

You have to feel a little difficulty – little lack of air, but not so hard. You have to hold the rhythm for long time and then the “time count” will grow with practice. The higher your usual “time count” the more energy you have and your body becomes healthier and stronger.


  • Sit comfortably in Lotus Posture (Padmasana) or any other asana that is comfortable and let your body get relaxed.
  • Exhale quick and fully through your mouth one time.
  • Raise your right hand and make Vishnu mudra by folding down the index and middle fingers. Or fix your index and middle fingers on Ajna chakra – middle of your forehead.
  • Close your right nostril with your right thumb.
  • Inhale to the 1 “time count”  through your left nostril while keeping your right nostril closed
  • Close your left nostril with the tips of your ring and little fingers so that both nostrils are closed
  • Hold your breath to the 4 “time counts”
  • Release your right nostril and exhale slowly to the 2 “time counts”
  • Close both nostrils and hold your breath to the 1 “time count”
  • Inhale fully through your right nostril to 1 “time count”
  • Close both nostrils and hold your breath to 4 “time counts”
  • Release your left nostril and exhale completely to 2 “time counts”
  • Close both nostrils and hold your breath to the 1 “time count”
  • This is one full round
  • Repeat the entire process for minimum 10 minutes.

nadi shodhana pranayamaWhen having a blocked nose, first do 5-6  full inhalations with maximal breath retentions – hold the breath as long as you can. Slowly exhale through the nose. Your nose will open after that and you can start pranayama at lowest “time count” = 3, 4 or 5 seconds. After 10 minutes the nose remains unblocked if you do not start breath through your mouth.




Advanced technique.

nadi Ida pingalaIn addition to basic technique:

  1. During inhalation try to feel prana / life coming all the way through the left / right nostril to middle of the forehead (left / right side of Ajna chakra), around the head into Ida / Pingala Nadi (energy channels  located on two fingers on the left  / right from the spine),all the way down, then around buttocks into the left / right ovary for women or testicle for man.
  2. During breath retention after inhalation focus your attention inside of the left / right channels described above trying to clean them and feeling energy assimilation in left / right sides of the body.
  3. During breath retention after exhalation try to be in complete silence, state of complete Stop in and out if you are dead.
  4. Repeat the entire process for minimum 30 minutes.

Benefits of Nadi Shodhana Pranayama :

  • It helps in balancing the three doshas in the body.
  • Increases the level of energy in your system
  • Carbon dioxide is increased on a large scale in body tissue
  • All body cells receive a lot of oxygen nourishing all body systems
  • Purifies and strengthens the body
  • Balances and strengthens the nervous system
  • Eliminates poisons from the body
  • Removes all muscular spasms all over the body
  • Calms down the mind
  • Prepares mind for meditation
  • Increases the level of consciousness

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