Monday Mindfulness: Alternate Nostril Breathing

meditation for calm and anxiety

This is one of the first practices I learned when I initially started exploring meditation. It is my go to for reducing stress and anxiety and can be practiced anytime. It works by balancing the left and right hemispheres of the brain creating a calm mind and clear thinking. Naturally each of us has one nostril slightly more open than the other, with the dominant side alternating every few hours. Some of us (especially those with allergies, deviated septa or other physical imbalances) may have one side chronically blocked. If you do this practice daily, this condition can be brought back into balance. I can validate this from my own experience. Before we go through the steps,grab a tissue and blow your nose. Ok – now let’s get started.

Step 1: Hold your right hand up and curl your index and middle fingers toward your palm. Place your thumb next to your right nostril and your ring finger and pinky by your left nostril.

Step 2: Close the right nostril by pressing gently against it with your thumb, and inhale through the left nostril. The breath should be slow, steady and full.

Step 3: Now close the left nostril by pressing gently against it with your ring finger and pinky, and open your right nostril by relaxing your thumb and exhale fully with a slow and steady breath. Inhale through the right nostril, close it, and then open the left nostril and exhale. That’s one complete round.

Step 4: Repeat – Inhale through the left nostril, close it, and then open the right nostril and exhale. Inhale through the right nostril, close it and then exhale through the left nostril. Continue this way for at least 5 rounds. When you are finished, sit in the stillness and just notice how you feel.

This a great practice to do start your meditation practice, before bed, or when you are feeling triggered by stress. After just a few rounds, you will feel calmer. Enjoy!

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