There are techniques in yoga that can regulate your breath-flow. They can keep you charged-up and disease-free all the time. Sanatan Kriya is one simple way of controlling the flow of your breath. In the last issue, we learnt of the yogic breath to expel out ama (toxic residue) from the lungs for a disease-free body. In this article, we will learn another extremely potent pranayama to purify your mind, body and soul, the Nadi Shodhanam. Nadi, refers to the etheric channels in our body where the prana flows, Shodhan means purifying. Any congestion in the nadis, hinders the movement of prana. The stagnation of prana leads to a plethora of diseases. In Nadi Shodhanam, the Eda (cold nadi, on the left side of Sushumna) and Pingla (hot nadi, on the right side of Sushumna) work as churning rods, creating heat through friction at the base of the spine, this heat then rises through the Sushumna and from there is spread across the body to cleanse the various channels, remove heaviness, congestion, and also avidya…making the body far more receptive to subtler energies and prana.
Steps for Nadi Shodhnam Pranayama
- Sit straight, preferably in Vajrasana. If not, keep your back absolutely straight and don’t take any artificial support.
- Put your middle finger between your eyebrows. Your ring finger presses your left nostril and your thumb is on your right nostril.
- You inhale from your left nostril and exhale through your right. And then inhale through your right nostril and exhale through the left. This is one cycle.
- As you inhale fill your stomach with air and push it out. There should be a hissing sound coming from your throat (like in Ujjai Pranayama). On exhalation your stomach is pulled in.
You inhale for the count of four and exhale to the count of twelve. It should be a rhythmic movement without any breath retention. Start with fourteen cycles and gradually increase.
There are many people at Dhyan Ashram who have ridden themselves of chronic respiratory ailments with the practice of Sanatan Kriya. In fact, one of the students, a severe asthmatic patient, only realized that her asthma had been cured when the local chemist asked, how was it that she had not purchased an inhaler in the past six months!
NOTE: While practicing any pranayama, sit in a well-ventilated room. Pranayama must not be practiced in a breezy or dusty environ. Similarly one should not sit directly under the direct blast of air cooler or fan while doing pranayamas. It is essential that pranayamas be done under the supervision of the Guru. Doing pranayama in an unsupervised manner either by copying from TV or reading from somewhere can cause long term irreparable damages in the body.