10-Day Meditation Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 8

Clear and Balance the Mind

5 min - Practice


To help calm and balance the mind in preparation for meditation, lets explore Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing).
What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video

Jul 01, 2017
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Welcome. I'm excited to share just a little bit about pranayama as a preparation for your meditation practice. So just as the asana can help to prepare the body to sit more comfortably, very simple breathing exercise or two can help to kind of clear the mind, wake up the awareness a little before you sit. So we'll discuss alternate nostril breathing today or nadi shodhana. It's a really simple alternate nostril breathing practice. I'll talk you through it and we'll experience it together. So for now, I just want to demonstrate how the setup will work. Any comfortable seat. When we begin, your left hand will be at rest. I like the palm up and the thumb and the first finger touching with the left hand. And then you'll be using your right thumb and ring finger. And then personal preference here, you can tuck the first two fingers of the right palm in towards or you can rest it gently on the third eye. And you can experiment with both and see which works for you. So when we begin, the right thumb will be on the right nostril and the right ring finger will be on the left nostril. For now, hands are at rest and the eyes are closed and the spine is tall. The same principles of an aligned comfortable seat for meditation apply in pranayama. Begin by simply observing the flow of the breath in and out through the nose. Feel the air entering and leaving each nostril. And then if you haven't already, go ahead and turn the left palm up and draw the thumb and the first finger to touch. And take the right hand near the face, kind of ready to go. Together we'll take a big inhale through the nose. And then exhale out the nose. Go ahead and close your right nostril with that thumb and inhale through the left. Then close the left with the ring finger and exhale out the right. Exhale right. Close the right. Exhale left. Again, inhale left. Closing the left. Exhale right. Inhale right. Closing right. Exhale left. One more full cycle. Inhale left. Close the left. Exhale the right. Inhale right. And close right. Exhale left. And just release the right hand. Take a big inhale through the nose. And let's gently hold the breath in at the top for a moment. Slight lift of the belly, slight drop of the chin. Hold. And then go ahead and lift the chin.

Open the mouth and exhale all the breath out. And then just a moment of stillness here, observing how you feel. Observing any shift in energy and sensations in the body and noticing if the breath is any deeper. Okay, and then as you're ready, gently let the eyes open. Come on back. Okay, so that was brief. Just a simple introduction to alternate nostril breathing. If you had more time, you could certainly do more. And if you know any other pranayama exercises that would feel more appropriate any given day, maybe kapalabhati for a more invigorating, stimulating breath, maybe breath retention to start to really expand the breathing capacity. All of these different experiences can really help to shift the energy, kind of clear out the mind so that when you take your seat for meditation, you're not sitting right down into the thickness of the thought that you've taken off or cleared out a layer or two. Some people love it. Some people don't respond to it so much. Simply an offering that you can experiment with throughout your practice. Thanks so much and enjoy.


Kate M
2 people like this.
This just naturally lead me into a little "tonglen" practice... the breath work is a lovely way to move into meditation... Thank you, Rosemary.

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