Alternate Nostril Breathing

Alternate nostril breathing relaxes and calms the mind and cleanses your lungs. Yoga breathing exercises promote relaxation and well-being.

If stress is getting the better of you and you want to achieve a calmer emotional state with less reactivity and more control, then this breathing exercise is beneficial.

The ancient yogis believed that regulating breathing promoted control of mind.

This breathing exercise is a useful tool to have in your stress management arsenal.

I find that a few minutes of this nostril breathing exercise gives me more control and enables me to regulate my emotions.

While yoga breathing exercises take some practice it has a relaxing and calming effect on the mind and body.

Alternate nostril breathing

Here are some simple steps to perform this nostril breathing exercise:

  1. close your eyes and focus your awareness on your breathing
  2. breathe in through the mouth or nose...but focus on the feeling of the breath moving down into your lungs similar to diaphragmatic breathing.

    Do this for a couple of breaths until you are relaxed.

  3. now bring your right thumb to the right nostril as you exhale exclusively through the left nostril until your lungs are empty
  4. as you inhale bring your left thumb to the left nostril and exclusively bring the air into your body through the right nostril
  5. repeat this cycle for 10-20 more breaths
  6. now repeat the process but change the direction of the air flow.

    Exhale through the right nostril and inhale through the left nostril.

    Repeat for 10-20 more breaths.

A tip for this breathing exercise is to try to visualize the air moving into and out of the lungs.

With practice this yoga breathing exercise can be used as a relaxation technique.

There are a number of other deep breathing exercises that are helpful for stress relief. These include:

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