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What is Nadi Shuddhi Breathing?

What is Nadi Shuddhi Breathing?

By guest author Catarina Flores, certified yoga teacher

Our energetic body combines both feminine and masculine energies and these are manifested in our chakras. Feminine energy is carried by Ida Nadi while Pingala Nadi transports masculine energies (Sushumna Nadi is the central nadi, carrying Kundalini energy around the subtle body). These energies are not gender related in the traditional sense but instead represent certain characteristics.

The masculine chakras are generally thought of as the  odd numbered chakras – the Root Chakra, Solar Plexus Chakra, Throat Chakra and Crown Chakra.

The Feminine chakras are generally considered to be the even numbered chakras – the Sacral Chakra, Heart Chakra, and Third Eye Chakra

Which chakras are feminine and masculine
The chakras and their genders

Whether we identify as male or female, we all carry inner masculine and feminine energies within all of us. Masculine energy simply likes to assert, produce, penetrate, externalize, and simply do. It is the way we strive for success and accomplishment through will power. Our masculine energy helps us function and move in our modern-day world.

Feminine energy, on the other hand, is embodied in the way we receive, listen, intuit, feel, internalize, and emotionally connect. Feminine energy thrives on collaboration, harmony, creativity, intuitive flow, and empathy.

Finding a balance within both energies is vital for our physical, mental, and spiritual health.

In Sanskrit, Nadi Shuddhi can be translated as a cleansing of the nerve channels. Famously known as ‘alternate nostril breathing’ Nadi Shuddhi is a type of pranayama, deep breathing techniques, used in yoga practice.

My yoga teacher at Siddhi Yoga Academy in Goa, India, often spoke of how this yogic breathing practice does not only balance the oxygen levels within our body, but it allows us to channel the power of reciprocity in our lives and in our relationships. Masculine energy likes to give and put out while feminine energy likes to receive and take in.

Follow these simple steps to start practising Nadi Shuddhi Breathing exercises:

  1. This breathwork is often done by sitting upright in a comfortable seated position.
  2. You begin by closing your left nostril with your thumb and inhaling through the right nostril.
  3. The index and middle finger are placed on top of the third eye in order to activate an internal awareness.
  4. It is important to pause at the top and hold your breath for a few seconds.
  5. For the exhale, you cover your right nostril with your ring finger and exhale through the left nostril.
  6. I like to repeat this flow at least ten times.

As you deepen your practice, you can learn to hold your breath for longer, prolonging the effects of this breathwork. Holding your breath for longer deepens a sense of calm and present focus in your physical body.

How to perform Nadi Shodhana

Nadi Shodhana is another form of healing breathwork which you can use for chakra healing.

In Hatha yoga, the right side of the body represents the masculine principle, while the left represents the feminine principle. Actively breathing through each nostril at a time allows energy to flow through both sides evenly. Harmonizing both energies is not only important for our internal wellness but it is also important to how we relate to others.

Do you feel like you tend to give more? Or do you feel like you tend to take?

Do you need to activate your inner masculine by being more decisive and committed to follow through?

Or do you feel like you need to activate your inner feminine by slowing down, listening to others more, or being more emotionally empathic to others?

When we balance these two energies within, we can learn to embody the art of reciprocity for our loved ones and the collective at large.


  • Catarina Flores

    Catarina Flores is a certified yoga teacher who has been practicing yoga for 12 years. Yoga has also served as a gateway to other forms of personal and spiritual self- development such as mindfulness, plant medicine, and health and wellness.