Sit comfortably, either cross-legged or on a chair. Place your hands conveniently on your thighs. Ensure your spine is straight as if someone is pulling you from the top of your head. While keeping your spine straight, relax the rest of the body. Any time during the practice you feel like suffocating or another type of worrying discomfort, discontinue the activity and return to your normal breath. If you have respiratory problems or illness, you should not practice this pranayama and do breath awareness or diaphragmatic breathing instead.
Close your eyes and start shifting your awareness inside. Breathe at a normal rate through both nostrils with diaphragmatic breathing. Follow your breath on the inhale and notice how your belly rises. On the exhale, follow your breath as it leaves and notice how does belly fall. We are starting Nadi Shodhana preparatory pranayama now. Take a full deep breath and exhale.
Bring your right hand to the nose and press your thumb lightly on the right nostril, to block the air passage. Inhale and exhale through your left nostril for 5 times. Do not control your breathing, breathe at your normal rate. After 5 rounds, unblock your right nostril and use the index finger to press against the left nostril. Exhale and inhale at your normal rate through the right nostril. Repeat the cycle 5 times. Lower your hand and return to breathing through both nostrils.
If you feel comfortable, you may start the next stage of the Nadi Shodhana preparation – controlled breathing. If you don’t feel ready yet, continue with the previous practice for a few more rounds, until you feel comfortable. Take a deep breath and exhale.
Bring your right hand to the nose and press with the thumb your right nostril. Inhale through the left nostril on the count of four. Adjust the count to feel comfortable if 4 is not. Exhale the air through the left nostril on the same count. Repeat the cycle 5 times.
After 5 rounds, unblock your right nostril and use the index finger to press against the left nostril. Inhale through the right nostril on the same count that you found comfortable in the previous cycle. Exhale the air through the right nostril on the same count. Repeat the cycle 5 times.
Lower your hand and return to the breathing through both nostrils. Continue to breathe in a controlled manner, keeping the count from the previous two rounds. Repeat the cycles 5 times.
After you are done, proceed to your meditation practice or rest for a few minutes to enjoy the sensation of calmness and inner peace.