Alternate Nostril Pranayama, also known as Nadi Shodhana or Anulom Vilom, is a powerful yogic breathing technique that helps balance the energy channels in the body, calm the mind, and reduce stress. Here’s a brief explanation of how to practice this technique in 5 minutes:
Preparation (1 minute):
Start by finding a comfortable seated position on a yoga mat or chair. Ensure your spine is straight, shoulders relaxed, and chin parallel to the ground. Rest your left hand on your left knee, with your palm facing upward. Use your right hand for the pranayama.
Hand Positioning (1 minute):
With your right hand, bring your index and middle fingers toward your palm, keeping your ring and pinky fingers extended. Use your thumb to gently close your right nostril, and your ring and pinky fingers to close your left nostril.
Begin the Breathing Cycle (2 minutes):
- Close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale deeply and slowly through your left nostril, counting to four as you inhale.
- After inhaling, close your left nostril with your ring and pinky fingers and release your right nostril.
- Exhale completely and slowly through your right nostril, counting to six as you exhale.
- Inhale deeply and slowly through your right nostril, counting to four.
- Close your right nostril again, release your left nostril, and exhale completely through your left nostril, counting to six.
Repeat this cycle for 2 minutes, ensuring that each inhale and exhale is done slowly and mindfully. The pattern is: Inhale left (4 counts), exhale right (6 counts), inhale right (4 counts), exhale left (6 counts).
Completion (1 minute):
After completing several cycles, finish with an exhale through your left nostril. Place your right hand on your right knee, keep your eyes closed, and take a few normal breaths.
Alternate Nostril Pranayama is a balancing and calming practice, making it an excellent way to center yourself, reduce stress, and prepare for meditation or as a quick relaxation technique during a busy day. Practice it regularly to experience its full benefits.