9 Steps to Beating Stress with Alternate Nostril Breathing
The yoga practice of nadi shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing, can be the addition to your wellness routine you didn’t even know you were missing. Nadi shodhana means “cleansing channel” and will leave you feeling refreshed and recentered. This practice can be enjoyed by both novice and experienced yogis.
The benefits of alternate nostril breathing extend beyond the body to both the mind and emotions.
Here are some of the top health boosts you can experience:
· Enhance focus and alertness
· Reduce anxiety and stress
· Relieve tension
· Fall asleep more easily
· Support lung function
· Infuse the body with oxygen
· Reduce heart rate
· Prepare for deeper meditation
· Restore balance between the left and right hemispheres of the brain
· Purify energy channels of the body
Here is a step by step guide to the practice:
1. Come into a comfortable seated position. Raise your head, open your heart and lengthen your spine. Close your eyes and set an intention for your practice.
2. Relax your left palm on your left knee. Gently rest your right forefinger and middle finger between your brows and cover your right nostril with your right thumb.
3. Take a deep breath in through your left nostril for 5 seconds. Hold it for 5 seconds.
4. Uncover your right nostril and gently cover your left nostril with your right thumb.
5. Exhale through your right nostril for 5 seconds. Hold for 5 seconds.
6. Inhale through your right nostril for 5 seconds and hold for 5 seconds.
7. Uncover your left nostril and cover your right. Exhale through your left nostril for 5 seconds.
8. Repeat this cycle 5-10 times depending on your intentions for the practice.
9. Return your breathing to normal and express gratitude to yourself for making the time to complete this practice.
Nadi shodhana can be employed quickly and on the go before stressful events like exams or meetings, or if you just need some recentering during your day. Even a 30 second practice clears the mind. Try it the next time you're waiting in line or trying to fall asleep.
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