Overcome daily stresses and enhance your wellbeing with this powerful breathing technique which calms your mind, relaxes your body and promotes healthy digestion
At this time of year, demands at work or around the house can start to ramp up, but that doesn’t mean our stress levels should creep up also. Perhaps you’re preparing for a presentation or an interview or you’re struggling to stay on top of busy family life. Whatever is making you anxious, it could result in tummy discomfort and poor digestive health, so it is important to have a technique to turn to during times of stress.
This is where alternate nostril breathing comes in. Particularly useful for relieving stress and reducing anxiety, alternate nostril breathing is a pranayama — the practice of breath control — yoga tool otherwise known as nadi shodhana.
Wellness expert Healthline claim it can be done as part of a yoga or meditation practice but also as its own practice to help quieten your mind.
A truly restorative and relaxing process, benefits include improved focus, lower heart rate, enhanced lung function and a deeper connection between the body and mind as well as a soothed nervous system which activates the parasympathetic nervous system, enabling relaxation and healthy digestion. Plus, if practiced at the end of the day, it can help to prepare you for a restful night’s sleep.
Enough about the benefits — here’s how you can reap them now!
Alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana)
- Sit on a chair or cross-legged on the floor making sure you’re comfortable, your back is tall and you are supported. If on the floor, you can place a yoga block underneath your bottom to allow more space for your hips and knees.
- Begin to notice your breathing and take a few deep breaths, initially. Allow your mind and body to settle.
- Lay your left hand on your lap or knee, then lifting your right hand, rest your index finger and middle finger on your forehead between your eyebrows.
- Leaving your thumb, ring finger and pinkie extended, inhale through both nostrils, then place your thumb over your right nostril. Exhale through your left nostril.
- Inhale through your left nostril, pause and take your ring finger to seal your left nostril. Exhale through your right nostril.
- Keeping your ring finger on your left nostril, inhale through your right nostril, then seal your right nostril with your thumb and exhale through your left. This is one cycle.
- This time keeping your thumb in place, inhale through your left nostril. Next, seal your left nostril and exhale through your right. As before, inhale through your right nostril, then close off your right with your thumb and exhale through your left.
- Keep repeating this pattern for up to five minutes.
Has this technique worked for you? Want to share a breathing exercise? Get in touch.