Alternate Nostril Breathing is a long-established yogic tradition the cleanses the energy channels and balances energy throughout the body. It is commonly used at the beginning or end of a yoga practice however; it has great benefit when used as a stand-alone practice.
Here are some specific benefits of alternate nostril breathing:
- Revitalizes energy: If you are feeling sluggish throughout the day, a short blend of alternate nostril breathing can balance the qi energy and provide an excellent perk me up!
- Activates the parasympathetic nervous system to decrease anxiety and reduce the fight or flight response when we are under stress.
- Increases cognitive and mental function which sharpens concentration and mental clarity.
- Promotes calmness and better sleep
- Draws attention deeply inside and away from mind chatter
How to do Alternate Nostril Breathing
Before you start, make sure
- Your cell phone is off.
- You are either sitting on the floor with your legs crossed or on in a chair with your ankles crossed. Your spine should be erect.
- Your hands will be uncrossed, glasses off and eyes can be closed.
- Make sure your shoulders are relaxed and your chin is even
- Loosely place your left hand in your lap, palm up! Let your left hand relax in your lap.
- You will be using the thumb and ring finger of right hand to close one nostril at a time.
- Place the right hand in front of your face with your palm facing your face.
- Straighten the index, middle and finger. They can also be slightly bent toward you nose.
- You will use your pinky and thumb to alternate closing each nostril.
- Start by blocking the right nostril with your thumb and inhale gently through the left nostril and then gently exhale through the left nostril.
- Then, block the left nostril with your pinky and inhale and exhale gently through the right nostril.
- You will then close the left nostril and repeat with the right nostril.
- You will continue to alternate nostrils – always starting with the exhale.
- Continue for a minimus of 5 minutes. Can do often!
When doing alternate nostril breathing keep in mind:
- Do this so lightly that you would not disturb a feather
- Focus on the breath and breathe fully in and fully out – slowly and gently with no sound.
- Always switch nostrils after the exhalation.
- Whatever nostril you inhale with, you also exhale with.