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Richard Feynman

Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman

Nadi Sodhana

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Nadi Sodhana is a subtle breathing technique, a crown jewel amongst the  Pranayama techniques. In Nadi Sodhana breath control is achieved only through the nostrils – so there is no more switching back and forth between nostril control and throat control (ujjayi).

If you are familiar with Pratiloma Ujjayi – then in a way you’ve already been practicing Nadi Sodhana – all you have to do is take out the parts of the sequence in which Ujjayi is used. Following is the Pratiloma Ujjayi sequence with the Ujjayi parts crossed out:

  1. Inhale through the left nostril (closing the right nostril by applying pressure to the thumb).
  2. Exhale with both nostrils open using Ujjayi (throat control).
  3. Inhale with both nostrils open using Ujjayi (throat control).
  4. Exhale through the right nostril (closing the left nostril by applying pressure to your ring finger).
  5. Inhale through the right nostril (closing the left nostril by applying pressure to your ring finger).
  6. Exhale with both nostrils open using Ujjayi (throat control).
  7. Inhale with both nostrils open using Ujjayi (throat control).
  8. Exhale through the left nostril (closing the right nostril by applying pressure to the thumb).

What you are left with is a technique based on nostril control going from side to side:

  1. Inhale through the left nostril (closing the right nostril by applying pressure to the thumb).
  2. Exhale through the right nostril (closing the left nostril by applying pressure to your ring finger).
  3. Inhale through the right nostril (closing the left nostril by applying pressure to your ring finger).
  4. Exhale through the left nostril (closing the right nostril by applying pressure to the thumb).

If your practice includes holds then add them where necessary. Please remember that one round of Nadi Sodhana is made up of two breaths. When practicing, you should always do an even number of breaths – so that the practice remains symmetrical (unless you’ve been given other specific instructions by a qualified teacher).

Here is a practice to get acquainted with Nadi Sodhana. It begins and ends with regular Ujjayi breathing and in the middle the technique is changed to Nadi Sodhana. Find yourself a comfortable seated position and do the following practice sequence :

1   –   0   –   1   –   0   (x4 – Ujjayi)

1   –   0   –   1   –   0   (x8 = 4 rounds Nadi Sodhana)

1   –   0   – 1.5 –   0   (x8 = 4 rounds Nadi Sodhana)

1   –   0   –   1   –   0   (x4 – Ujjayi)

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