Is Nadishodhana Kriya a must?
There are many styles of Kriya Yoga around and each style presents you a set
of recommended techniques. Many beginners believe that Kriya Yoga doesn't
include the Nadishodhana Pranayama. This is of course not true. Just because
some famous Kriya Yoga teachers didn't teach Nadishodhana doesn't make it
inferior or unnecessary. In fact I consider this kriya as a very important
cleansing and brain balancing practice that all the practitioners (especially
beginner to intermediate level) should include in their practice routine.
When a beginner in Kriya Yoga begins his practice his pranic channels are not
often blocked by impurities. These impurities accumulate because of wrong food
habits and uncontrolled life style. Unless you remove these impurities Kundalini
will find it extremely difficult to ascend to higher chakras. Cleansing of these
impurities has additional health benefits. These health benefits are normally
much better and quicker than some other techniques such as healing affirmations.
In fact I would suggest that if you are making use of healing affirmations then
combine them with Nadishodhana and your benefits will double!
It would be wrong to consider some kriya inferior just because some famous
Kriya Yoga personality didn't teach it to his disciples. When you are spreading
some message to masses your teachings should be such that they can be
easily digested by the people. The same happened with Kriya Yoga also. Some
kriya masters excluded Nadishodhana plainly because they felt that it will not
be accepted so easily by masses (especially in western countries) considering
its difficult techniques and hidden dangers. However, this in no way reduces the
importance of Nadishodhana Pranayama.
Nadishodhana Pranayama is such a powerful kriya that its rigorous practice
alone can awaken the sleeping goddess. No other practice has such a quick effect
on Prana and Kundalini. Of course there are dangers in practicing Nadishodhana
excessively and every practitioner must be aware of them.
The first danger in Nadishodhana is undue length of breath retention. My
technique of Nadishodhana recommends that breath be retained only for the count
of three Oms. This duration is in most of the cases safe and chances of any
damage are extremely rare. The classic Yoga texts recommend breathing ratio of
1:4:2. That means retention is four times the inhalation time. This can be too
much for many many practitioners. If at all you are attempting this ratio I
strongly suggest that you do so under a guidance of an expert. The retained
breath can put excess pressure on delicate organs such as eyes, ears. The damage
made by excess retention may not be visible immediately but over a period of
months and years it gets "accumulated". So be careful about too much length of
breath retention. Don't be in a hurry of any kind. My observation tells me that
the duration of three Oms also brings marvelous benefits and one can keep this
duration constant throughout. The second danger is excessive heat in the body.
If Nadishodhana is practiced for extended duration it can generate bodily heat
causing diseases such as constipation, blisters and insomnia. People with weak
lungs and heart should avoid Nadishodhana. If you are suffering from diseases of
eyes, ears, lungs or heart consult your doctor before commencing the practice of
Nadishodhana. Of course just because some people are unfit to practice
Nadishodhana doesn't make it useless for all.
Some of you might be wondering as to how Nadishodhana brings about the
purification of pranic channels. The key aspect of Nadishodhana is alternate
nostril breathing. It is now acknowledge by modern science that the right side
of the brain is affected by the left nostril and the left side by the right
nostril. Further, the right side of the brain is responsible for our emotional
personality whereas the left side is responsible for analytical personality.
Thus Nadishodhana affects and balances both the sides of the brain and
Can the same effect be induced by Bhutashuddhi Kriya or Kundalini Pranayama
or Ajapa Japa? The answer is yes and no. On the contrary to the common belief we
breath only by one nostril predominantly at a time. After every 90 minutes the
nostrils change their dominance. If you practice Bhutashuddhi Kriya or Kundalini
Pranayama or Ajapa Japa when only one nostril is predominant then obviously you
will affect only one side of the brain. On the other hand of you practice the
same kriyas when both the nostrils are opened then they can have balancing
effect. However, very few can open both the nostrils at will. That is why
ancient texts never claim any "pranic purification" or "cleansing" through the
practice of Bhutashuddhi Kriya or Kundalini Pranayama or Ajapa Japa. These
techniques work best for inducing meditation and "magnetize" sushumna with prana.
To summarize - Nadishodhana Kriya is a very important practice. If
coupled with other kriyas it can help you awaken the Kundalini quickly. It also
has health benefits of its own. One must not, however, overdo it in terms of
breath retention or overall duration. The Nadishodhana Kriya as taught
on this web site is safe for most of the practitioners (unless you are suffering
from some lung or heart problem) and is an integral part of my style of Kriya