Pranayama is a process of regulating and expanding prana (life force). Prana is life and it regulates and sustains life and all the vital functions of the body. By controlling pranic activity, all the physiological functions including body temperature can be regulated. Breath is the medium through which prana is regulated, through breath – prana even the mind can be controlled. Pranayama is not just meant for health and well being but can also prepare the mind for meditation as regulation of breath leads to mind control too.

Nadi Sodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

nadi shodhan

Nadi means “psychic passage” or a specific pathway through which Prana flows throughout the body. Sodhana means to purify.

The flow of breath is controlled by the fingers of the right hand as shown in the illustration.  This is called Nasika Mudra.

Technique

nadi shodhan fingers

  • Sit in Vajrasana or any comfortable Asana and become aware of your breath.
  • Block the right nostril with the right thumb.
  • Slowly exhale through left nostril.
  • Inhale through the left nostril.
  • Block the left nostril with the ring finger.
  • Exhale through the right nostril.
  • Inhale through the right nostril, block the right nostril and exhale through the left. This is one round.
  • Practice 9 rounds.

Benefits

  • This process stimulates both sides of the brain as both nostrils flow freely.
  • It helps in managing high blood pressure, insomnia and migraine.
  • It is also one of the best techniques to calm the mind and the nervous system.

Sheetkari (Cooling Pranayama)

The sound Shee or Sheet is made during inhalation in this practice. The Sanskrit word Kari means that which produces. Therefore Sheetkari can be translated as the Pranayama that produces the sound Shee which induces relaxation with an overall cooling effect.

The sound Shee or Sheet is made during inhalation in this practice. The Sanskrit word Kari means that which produces. Therefore Sheetkari can be translated as the Pranayama that produces the sound Shee which induces relaxation with an overall cooling effect.

Technique:

  1. Sit in Vajrasana or Sukhasasn.
  2. Fold the tip of the tongue inwards so that the lower surface gently presses the upper palate.
  3. Inhale through the gaps in the teeth.
  4. Exhale slowly through both the nostrils.

Benefits:

    • Sheetkari induces muscular relaxation and an overall cooling effect.
    • It quenches thirst and appeases hunger, and generates a feeling of satisfaction.
    • It also helps to reduce blood pressure and acidity in stomach.

Caution: People with sensitive or missing teeth, dentures, low blood pressure, cold, sore throat, bronchitis etc., should avoid this practice.