“Be aware of your breathing. Notice how this takes attention away from your thinking and creates space.” Eckhart Tolle
Let’s continue exploring alternate nostril breathing and notice how it makes us feel as we learn new variations. We have two major energy channels connected to the nostrils, called the ida and pingala nadis. Depending on how we stimulate these energy channels through the breath, we can manifest different states within the body and mind.
The left nostril is connected to the ida nadi, which is a cleansing, cooling, receptive, moon energy. It can help us feel calm, sensitive, empathic, and expand the mind. The right nostril is connected to the pingala nadi, which is a nurturing, warming, projective, sun energy. It can help us feel alert, vigorous, focused, and easily able to concentrate.
This particular variation of alternate nostril breathing is calming and helps with emotional balance. It is excellent to do in the morning if you woke up on the “wrong side of the bed” or at night to melt away the affects of a stressful day and process any negative emotions in a healthy way.
Here’s a video demonstration of the technique, if you learn better that way.
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. If you are feeling uncomfortable as you sit for this breath technique, try moving the spine before you come to your seated posture.
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. Left hand rests on your left thigh or knee.
Breath – Inhale Left Exhale Right
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.
Start by blocking off the right nostril with the right thumb and inhale through the left nostril. At the top of the inhale, hold the breath for a moment as you block off the left nostril with the pointer or ring finger. Then exhale through the right nostril. Hold the breath for a moment at the bottom of the exhale and again switch to block off the right nostril with right thumb. Inhale through left nostril.
Continue this pattern of inhale left, exhale right for 3-5 minutes or count the breaths as a nice way to help focus the mind. When you’re finished, take a few slow deep breaths through both nostrils, noticing how you feel before you go back into the world. Enjoy.