with Susan Rush

Nadi Shodhana/Alternate Nostril Breathing

The breath brings balance to the systems of the body. It is both cleansing and calming. 

The Vishnu Mudra

In this exercise, adopt the Vishnu Mudra with your right hand to close your nostrils. Tuck your index and middle finger into the palm.  This leaves your thumb and ring finger available for closing your nostrils as you switch sides. 

Sit quietly in a comfortable upright position, holding the natural curve of your spine. Keep your head centred, chin slightly tucked. Closing the eyes, take a few deep, complete breaths to connect body and breath. 

Place your right thumb by your right nostril and your ring and little fingers by your left nostril.

*It is important to use the right hand and always start and finish with the left nostril.


  • At the top of the inhalation, close off your right nostril with the thumb.
  • Inhale through the left nostril, to the count of 4.
  • When the breath is full, hold the breath, closing both nostrils, to the count of 6.
  • Exhale through the right nostril, closing the left nostril with the ring finger, to the count of 4.
  • Inhale through the right nostril, keeping the left closed with the ring finger, to the count of 4.
  • Hold the breath, closing both nostrils, to the count of 6.
  • Exhale through the left nostril, keeping the right closed with the thumb, to the count of.

Finishing the practice with a long exhale from the left nostil. Dropping the hand mudra to rest on the thigh. Pausing and noticing the effects. Open the eyes slowly and gently. 

This is one full round.  7 rounds is enough to bring changes to the body, more if you have time. 

Breath ratio

  • Inhale: 4 count
  • Retention breath: 6 count
  • Exhale: 4 count

In time you can adopt other ratios, 5:6:7 etc. Advanced practioners may extend the length of the exhalation up to twice as long as the inhalation.  

*If your right arm tires, then support your elbow with the left hand. Practice gently and avoid if you have blocked sinuses.         


Calms and clears the mind; lowers the heart rate; synchronises both hemispheres of the brain; stimulates the channels of the body; food for insomnia; quiets the heart and is good for anxiety.                                                                                                                           

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