Alternate nostril breathing is a simple, yet powerful breath technique that is easy to do and which can be done at any stage of your yoga practice. It offers a wide variety of options to help alter moods and energies. We’ll start here with the most basic and later learn other variations. Here’s a video demonstration if you learn better visually.
Come to sit in easy pose on the floor or in a straight-back chair with feet flat on the floor. Hands rest on the knees or thighs. Neck is in line with spine, chin slightly tucked. Eyes are closed and rolled up between the brows at the third eye point to give the mind a point of focus.
As we alternate nostrils, we’ll be doing long deep breathing. Inhale comes all the way down into the belly, allowing it to rise and expand. Exhale as you pull the belly back toward the spine, expelling all air out of the lungs.
We’ll facilitate alternate nostril breathing with our right hand. Using the right thumb to block off the right nostril, other fingers point straight up like an antenna drawing energy into the fingers. Then using the pointer or ring finger to block off the left nostril.
Begin by blocking off the right nostril with the right thumb and inhale through the left nostril. Hold the breath at the top of the inhale. Then block off the left nostril with the pointer or ring finger and exhale through the right nostril. Then inhale right nostril. Hold at the top of the inhale. Block off right nostril again with right thumb and exhale through the left nostril. Inhale left nostril. Hold at top and switch again. Continue this pattern for 3-5 minutes or count the breaths for as long as you’d like. When finished, take a few normal breaths through the nose and notice how you feel. Here’s the video demonstration if you need any clarification. Enjoy!
- Balances the two hemispheres of the brain and creates whole brain functioning.
- Gently purifies the ida and pingala nadis (energy channels).
- Creates a deep sense of well-being and harmony on a physical, mental and emotional level.
- Can help with headaches, migraines, and other stress-related symptoms.