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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 personalities.

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 Yoga.






Bipin Joshi is a software consultant, an author and a yoga mentor with more than 22 years of experience in classical yoga system of India. He is an internationally published author and has authored or co-authored more than ten technology books for Apress and WROX press. He has been awarded as a Most Valuable Professional by Microsoft. He has also written a few Marathi books including Devachya Davya Hati and Natha Sankentincha Danshu. Having embraced yoga way of life he also teaches Kriya and Meditation to selected individuals.

बिपीन जोशी लिखित देवाच्या डाव्या हाती आणि नाथ संकेतींचा दंशु या पुस्तकांची आपली प्रत आजच विकत घ्या. त्यांच्या अजपा योग मार्गदर्शनाविषयी अधिक माहिती येथे उपलब्ध आहे.

Posted On : 31 Mar 2008

Tags : Kriya Yoga Pranayama Nadishodhana

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