Yoga with Melissa 227, Fourth Limb of Yoga: Pranayama, Eight Limbs of Yoga, How to do Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, 1 hour Yoga Class

by Melissa West on May 16, 2014

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Nadi Shodhana Study

Namaste-Yoga-227This class is the fourth class in our eight limbs of yoga series and focuses on the fourth limb, pranayama. The pranayama study for today’s class is nadi Shodhana with an emphasis on postures that will open up the right and left sides of your body as well as hip openers to help you to sit for breath practice.

Our intention today is to practice a variety of nadi shodhana/alternate nostril breathing techniques from preparatory, to alternate nostril breathing to alternate nostril breathing with retention followed by deep awareness and mindfulness of the effects of these breathing practices on our bodies and minds.

You’ll need to do a nasal rinse with a neti pot or blow your nose well before your start this practice.

How to do Alternate Nostril Breathing

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Yoga Sutras 2:28 “By the practice of the limbs of yoga, the impurities dwindle away and there dawns the light of wisdom leading to discriminative discernment.” The practice of the eight limbs of yoga will not bring you anything new, they will simply remove what is unnecessary and as the impurities dwindle, the wisdom that already resides within you will emerge.

The fourth limb of the eight limbs of yoga is pranayama. To me, this is one of the most exciting limbs. Prana means life force, and ayama means extension or expansion of prana. Essentially we are activating our life force and regulating it to go beyond our normal boundaries and limitations to attain a higher state of vibrational energy. If that is not exciting then I’m not sure what is!

Today’s class will be similar to our Kapala Bhati Study in episode 212
We will focus on one style of pranayama in a very few postures, in this case nadi shodhana pranayama or alternate nostril breath.

The intention behind pranayama, like any of the eight limbs of yoga, is to encourage self knowledge, expand and transform your consciousness and ultimately culminate in your Self Realization.

Chapter 2:49 of the Yoga Sutras says, “Once a firm posture is acquired (refer to episode 226 of Namaste Yoga) the movements of inhalation and exhalation should be controlled, this is pranayama.

Pranayama is the mastery of prana or universal life force energy through your breath. We can observe our breath as a way of noticing the flow of prana in our bodies. Take a moment now to observe your breath moving towards your body, now notice your breath moving away from your body, become aware of the stillness in between.

If your breath feels irregular and disturbed it could be indicative of imbalances and or blockages of the flow of your prana. When you regulate your breath, prana flows with measure and to the appropriate places in your body, therefore blockages are removed, energy is increased, and health is improved.

Today we will practice nadi shodhana. Nadi means channel or flow of energy and shodhana means purification. Nadi shodhana, therefore means purification of the nadis.

This breath practice is known to give your whole body nourishment with an extra supply of oxygen. Carbon dioxide is released and your blood is purified of toxins. Your brain is stimulated to work closer to its optimum capacity. Nadi shodhana brings about tranquility, clarity of thought and concentration and so is recommended for those who are engaged in cognitive activity. This breath practice elevates vitality and decreases stress and anxiety by harmonising the pranas. Nadi shodhana clears pranic blockages and balances your ida and pingala nadis causing the sushumna nadi to flow, which leads to deep states of meditation and spiritual awakening.

Namaste Yoga 227 Shareable Quote: “Pranayama is the activation and regulation of life force energy beyond one’s normal boundaries and limitations to attain a higher state of vibrational energy.” Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Props Needed: Yoga Blocks, Yoga Strap, Yoga Blanket

Yoga Postures/Asanas: Nadi Shodhana Preparatory Practice in Savasana/Alternate Nostril Breathing Preparatory Practice in Corpse Pose, Reclined Side Bend/Supta Ardha Chandrasana, Knee to Chest Pose/Apanasana, Cat Pose/Marjaryasana, Pigeon/Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, Easy Pose/Sukhasana, Nadi Shodhana/Alternate Nostril Breathing, Adho Mukha Svanasana/Downward Facing Dog, Ardha Chandrasana/Standing Side Bend, Cow’s Face Pose/Gomukasana, Easy Pose/Sukhasana Nadi Shodhana with inner Retention/Nadi Shodhana with Antar Kumbhaka


Inside the Yoga Sutras by Reverend Carrera Jaganath
Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Yoga with Melissa 227 Photos of Yoga Poses


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