Alternate Nostril Breathing… Possibly one of the best antidotes to stress

Alternate Nostril Breathing.... is a simple yet powerful technique that is particularly helpful in s-l-o-w-i-n-g down racing thoughts, bringing your mind out of the past, building attention and focus in the present, and cultivating a sense of relaxation in the entire body.

Whether you’re nervous about a project or presentation, anxious about a conversation, worried about an important exam, need to stay focused, or generally stressed out, alternate nostril breathing is an easy and effective way to bring you back to center and tap into your own body’s natural stress-reduction mechanisms. 

Next time you find yourself feeling too many pressures of daily living, move through a few rounds of alternate nostril breathing. It’s a great way to hit the reset button for your mental state and keep you on track for the rest of your day.

Alternate Nostril Breathing:

1.    Take a comfortable seat, making sure your spine is straight and your heart is open.

2.    Relax your left palm comfortably into your lap and bring your right hand just in front of your face, with your thumb and ring (or pinky) finger extended up.

3.    Take one deep breath in and out through your nose.

4.    Press your right thumb on your right nostril and press gently to close.

5.    Inhale through the left nostril slowly and steadily, for a count of 4.

6.    Close the left nostril with your ring finger so both nostrils are held closed; retain your breath at the top of the inhale for a brief pause (2-4 counts).

7.    Open your right nostril and release the breath slowly, for a count of 4. Pause briefly at the bottom of the exhale.

8.    Inhale through the right nostril, 4 slow counts.

9.    Hold both nostrils closed, with ring finger and thumb (2-4 counts).

10.   Open your left nostril and release breath slowly, for a count of 4. Pause briefly at the bottom.

Repeat 5-10 cycles, slowly, with intention, allowing your mind to follow your inhales and exhales. Its nice to do this practice with your eyes closed, but if you feel more comfortable with your eyes open, just keep your gaze soft and to the floor.

Note: Steps 5-10 represent one complete cycle of alternate nostril breathing. If you’re moving through the sequence slowly, one cycle should take you about 30-40 seconds.

PS… The Alternate Nostril Secret:  Feel free to try this practice “in your mind,” without using your right thumb and pinky/ring finger. Just imagine… same actions, same benefits, without anyone else knowing!

Inhale left nostril (4 counts), hold (2-4 counts), exhale right nostril (4 counts).

Inhale right nostril (4 counts), hold (2-4 counts), exhale left nostril (4 counts).  

Repeat for 5-10 cycles, at any time, in any place.

It’ll be your secret.