It is simple to do alternate nostril breathing and it has many benefits that we can all use in our daily lives. This technique is great to use before you start yoga or meditate. It can be used before going to bed or right before you go to work. You will feel balanced and ready to engage in deep sleep or dynamic activity with alternate nostril breathing.
This is the right breathing technique to help you feel calmer and more balanced. Let’s take a deep inhale, and let’s get inhale!
Introduction to alternate nostril breathing
Sanskrit (one of the oldest languages on the planet) alternate nostril breathing can be called Nadi Shodhan Pranayama. It means “subtle energy clearing technique” and has many benefits.
Alternate nostril breathing is a way to calm the mind and reduce anxiety. It also brings relaxation to the whole body. It can also help those who struggle to calm down before meditation.
Alternate nostril breathing, even if it is only for a few moments, can instantly reduce stress levels and fatigue. This is a fast and effective practice that can be used before stressful situations like job interviews or public speaking engagements.
How to do the alternate nostril breathing exercise
It is easy to learn how to practice alternate nostril breath. Just follow these instructions.
Preparation – Sit comfortably with your spine straight and your hips open. Your jaw should be relaxed. Close your eyes.
Your left hand should be on your left knee, palm facing up. You can also use the Chin Mudra hand position by lightly touching your thumb and index fingers together.
Practice – Place the tip and middle fingers of your right hand on your forehead between the eyebrows. Your little finger and ring finger will close your left nostril. Alternately, the thumb will close your right nostril.
- Take a deep inhale by placing your middle and right index fingers lightly between your eyebrows.
- When you exhale, close your right nostril using your thumb. Then, breathe out through the left nostril.
- Slowly inhale through your left nostril. Next, close the left nostril using your ring finger. Finally, exhale completely through the right nostril.
- Breathe in through your right nostril, then close your thumb and breathe out through your left nostril.
These are the steps for alternate nostril breathing. Slow and steady your breathing.
- This alternating breath between your nostrils can be done in five to nine rounds
- Always inhale through the same nostril that you exhaled through.
- All throughout, keep your breath steady, slow, and calm
- End your last round by exhaling on the left side.
Beginner tip – If you’re a beginner, inhale for four counts then exhale for four. Your exhalation may be longer (from six to eight counts) as you gain experience with the practice. This is because your inhalation can take four counts more than your inhalation. You can increase the length of your breathes as you improve your practice. Breath retention can be increased after every inhalation or exhalation.
This video will help you understand alternate nostril breathing better. You can also seek the guidance of a yoga instructor or meditation instructor who is familiar with alternate nostril breathing.
Alternative nostril breathing has many benefits
You can also learn many pranayama techniques. This soothing alternative nostril breathing is the best, particularly for its psychological benefits.
Alternate nostril breath:
- Calms and centers your mind
- It brings the mind into the present and lets go of past fears, regrets and worries.
- Improves the function of the circulatory system and respiratory system
- Relaxes mind and body, relieves stress
- Harmonizes the left hemispheres and right hemispheres in the brain. These correlate with the logical as well as emotional sides of our personality
- Balances and purifies the subtle energy channels, ensuring that the body has a smooth flow prana (life force).
- Relaxes the nervous system
- Maintains body temperature
- It can lower blood pressure, but is not meant to replace medication.
Here are 6 things to keep in mind when practicing alternate nostril breathing
- Breathe out, inhale, then switch sides and repeat.
- Always exhale on your left side.
- Don’t force your breath. Keep it natural and gentle. Allow your breath to flow smoothly, even without pressure or force.
- When practicing, do not open your mouth or make any noises.
- Use your fingers to lightly touch the nose and forehead. You don’t need to press too hard.
- You will reap the greatest benefits if you practice regularly.