Alternate nostril breathing is an easy way to calm the mind and reduce anxiety. It is free, simple and available anytime. Three minutes in your car, bathroom stall or cubicle can result in more energy, less anxiety and clear-minded peace. It’s perfect for those moments when you feel overwhelmed, frazzled or need a quick-fix emotionally.
This breathing technique balances all three doshas and is particularly well-suited for calming excess Vata conditions of the mind. Breathing this way balances the feminine/masculine or yin/yang energy in the body. It also helps regulate the left and right brain functions, leaving you feeling relaxed and clear-minded.
Sit comfortably with a long, tall spine. Raise your right hand, and allow your left hand to rest comfortably in your lap. You will be using your thumb and your ring finger (4th finger) of the right hand only. Use your right thumb to cover your right nostril and your ring finger to cover your left nostril.
Begin by exhaling all the air out of the lungs through both nostrils. Close your right nostril with your thumb, and inhale through left nostril only. Pause briefly with the air held in, then close the left nostril using your ring finger. Exhale through the right nostril only. Make sure to exhale completely. Without moving the hand, and keeping the left nostril closed, inhale through the right nostril only. Using the thumb to close the right nostril, exhale out the left nostril only. This marks the completion of one full cycle. In starting, try completing 6 full cycles and slowly work your way up to a three-minute daily practice.
This simple, ancient practice balances the body and inspires a sense of peace and tranquility. It is available to you anytime, anywhere. Add this to your anxiety-relief toolkit to de-escalate a stressful situation fast.