The essential requirement of nadi shodhana is slow, deep and rhythmical breathing. This results in less number of breaths every minute, for as one breathes more deeply the frequency of respiration automatically decreases. Rapid breathing is directly associated with excitability, nervousness, anger and other extreme emotions.
Nadi shodhana stage I must be practised for a few minutes, followed by stage II, with the aim of making the inhalation and exhalation longer and longer in duration but always maintaining the ratio 1:1. Then without break continue the following practice.
Technique for nadi shodhana stage :II (advanced)Start to slowly increase the duration of exhalation. Remember to continue to mentally count the duration of exhalation and inhalation. Each interval of counting should last for 1 second; in other word if you breathe in for a count of 5 then this corresponds to duration of 5 seconds. Make sure that you are aware of both the mental counting and the process of breathing. Remember 1 round consists of inhalation through the left nostril, followed by exhalation through the right nostril, inhalation through the right and finally exhalation via the left. Over the space of 5 rounds make the exhalation 1 second longer than inhalation. For example, if you breathe in for a count of 5 then exhale for a count of 6. If you breathe in for a count of 10 then exhale for a count of 11.
The actual count depends entirely on how far you have progressed with the previous stages. Your duration of exhalation and inhalation should be perfectly comfortable. Then after a few rounds add 1 more second onto the duration of exhalation. Do this only if you are able to do it comfortably. After a few more rounds try to further increase the exhalation by 1 more second. Continue in this manner until you either find it impossible to increase the length of duration any further without straining, or if you reach a stage where exhalation is twice as long as inhalation. The eventual aim is to make the ratio of exhalation to inhalation fixed at 1:2. However, don't try to progress too quickly - there is plenty of time. When you reach the 1:2 ratios then you should start to increase the inhalation by 1 second and the exhalation by 2 seconds to maintain the same 1:2 ratio. Continue to increase the actual duration over each practice session. Remember it is essential to maintain awareness of breathing and mental counting throughout the whole practice. Do the practise for as long as you have the time available.
General hints for nadi shodhana pranayamaIf your nose is blocked it is essential to perform jala neti prior to practise. Even if your nose is reasonably clear it is still beneficial to do jala neti prior to your yoga practices. Try to breathe without making any noise as the air enters and leaves the nostrils. Noise is a sure sign that you are breathing too quickly. Of course, if you cannot breathe sufficiently slowly to eliminate noise then don't worry, only bear this in mind. With practice your breathing rate will definitely reduce. The breathing must be relaxed and without violent heaving and movements of the body. Try to practise yogic breathing.