Cleansing your energy channels ~ Freeing your mind
If you are feeling at odds and ends, this is a wonderful breath for settling your mind.
Getting Started with Alternate Nostril Breathing
- Settle yourself into a comfortable seated position.
- While this is generally done with the right hand, use whichever hand is most comfortable for you, resting the other hand upon its corresponding thigh.
- Bring your right hand to your face, placing your thumb gently on your right nostril, and your ring finger gently on your left nostril. Your pointer and middle finger will be hanging out like a set of rabbit ears and you can place them in the area between your eyes, leaving your pinky finger to float in the air.
- Once you have your fingers settled, you are ready to begin alternate nostril breathing. Alternate nostril breathing is exactly what it says: you will use your thumb and ring finger to encourage first one and then the other nostril to engage in breathing. Feel free to close your eyes.
- Gently close your right nostril with your thumb. Inhale through your left nostril.
- Close your left nostril with your ring finger and count to 1.
- Now remove your thumb, keeping your ring finger in place, and exhale through your right nostril.
- Inhale through your right nostril, close your right nostril with your thumb. Hold for the count of 1.
- Release your ring finger to open your left nostril and exhale.
- Continue alternate nostril breathing for several breaths, finishing by exhaling from your left nostril.
- Bring your hand to your lap and give yourself a few moments to enjoy the benefits of your breathing.
Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing
- A few moments of relaxed breathing can work wonders on a mind or body that is feeling unsettled, restless, tired, stressed, sad or upset.
- Oxygen arrives in your brain in long, full, balanced doses. Increased oxygen helps to calm the mind and increases the ability to think clearly.
- Soothing breaths help settle emotions and triggers the parasympathetic nervous system to turn on the relaxation response.
Getting Started portion adapted from and with thanks to Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga Teacher Development Manual, page 2-41.