Relieve Stress with Alternate Nostril Breathing
“Breath and mind are like two tandem fish swimming in the ocean of consciousness. Where one goes, the other will follow.” ~ Richard Freeman
This month I want to offer you a simple breathing exercise to release stress and anxiety, to reset yourself midday, to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain and in some cases to prepare you for deeper meditation.
Connecting with our breath is one of the easiest ways to calm the mind and release anxiety and tension. We often forget about our breath and this is when the mind can really start going crazy on overload. The mind and the breath mirror each other. When the mind is out of control, the breath tends to be short and out of control. When we can bring the mind to focus on the breath and let them “work in tandem” as Richard Freeman says, we can heighten our awareness and bring ourselves to a calm and clear frame of mind.
In yoga, breath control is called pranayama. Prana is life force energy and yama is to control. There are many pranayama exercises that we practice in yoga, but this simple breathing exercise can be done anywhere, any time of day for a quick reset.
This breath exercise is called alternate nostril breathing or Nadi Shodhana, meaning channel purification.
Here is how you do alternate nostril breathing:
· Sit in a tall comfortable seat. In a chair, on the floor, in your car…wherever you are.
· Place your right thumb softly outside the right nostril and the right ring finger softly on the outside of your left nostril. Place the middle and index finger lightly between they eyebrows.
· Soften and close your eyes
· Close the right nostril with the thumb.
· Exhale out the left nostril.
· Inhale through the left nostril
· Close the left nostril with the ring finger.
· Open the right nostril and exhale.
· Inhale right nostril, close with the thumb.
· Open left nostril, exhale.
· Inhale left nostril, then close with the ring finger
· Open the right nostril, exhale.
· Inhale right nostril, close with thumb.
· Open left nostril, exhale
· Repeat this for 2-3 minutes or longer if you like End when you complete a full cycle as you exhale out of your left nostril.
Alternate nostril breathing is fast, easy and really does put you back into a state of balance and ease. Watch my video tutorial!