Probably you already know most of the following techniques. In fact, the asanas and pranayama are almost certainly an integral part of your daily practice program. But it is more than possible that you don’t realize that these simple techniques are intended to balance ida and pingala. Actually, all hatha yoga practices are intended to balance ida and pingala, but it is the following ones that do it most directly and obviously.
Technique 1: Padadhirasana
In English, this asana can be called the ‘breath balancing pose’. It is very simple, yet it is most effective in balancing the ida and pingala flows before starting pranayama practice.
Any method that applies pressure under the armpits has a direct influence on the flow of breath through the nostrils. If you don’t believe this, then try it for yourself. If firm pressure is applied under the right armpit, then the left nostril will tend to flow. If a firm pressure is applied under the left armpit, then the right nostril will tend to flow. This has been scientifically verified in laboratories, but you can quickly test it for yourself. Allow at least a minute or so before expecting any positive results, though changes may occur within a few seconds. The reason for this relationship between the nostrils and the armpits is not certain, but it is probably associated with nerve reflexes.
In padadhirasana, pressure is simultaneously applied under both armpits. This, not surprisingly, brings about a balance of the air flows through the right and the left nostrils. The technique requires little explanation and is as follows: Sit in any comfortable pose; traditionally the asana is done in vajrasana as shown, but this is not essential3. Cross the arms in front of the chest. Place the right hand under the left armpit with the thumb upwards in front of the right shoulder. Place the left hand under the right armpit in the same manner. Close the eyes. This is the final pose. Breathe slowly and deeply. Practise until the breath flows become equalized. Throughout the practice be aware of the breathing process and try to imagine that the flows are equal; this will increase the efficacy of the asana.