TAKE FIVE: Alternate Nostril Breath

Whether you’re nervous about a project or presentation, anxious about a conversation, or just generally stressed out, Nadi Shodhana is an easy exercise to bring you back to cool, calm and collected.

In Sanskrit, Nadi Shodhana translates as “subtle energy clearing technique”. Nadi Shodhana has a long history in Ayurvedic medicine and yoga, where it’s thought to harmonize the two hemispheres of the brain, resulting in a balanced in physical, mental and emotional well-being.


Now, most how-to guides will have you use your fingers to block off the nostrils. This is not one of them.

To try the body aware variation of this practice, simply place your full attention on the side of the nose you wish to inhale from and begin to draw softly. Feel this side become activated and sensitive to the inflow of air. Let your attention expand with the breath to the highest reaches of your sinuses and toward the top of your head. Feel this area come to life with your focus and intent.

Begin your exhale by shifting your attention over to the opposite side and begin to breathe slowly out the alternate nostril. Feeling again the sensitivity this brings, embracing these subtle sensory shifts.

Now reverse, beginning the inhalation on the same you just finished exhaling from.
Focus on keeping your breath slow, smooth, and continuous.

With practice you will be able to isolate the sides easily, gaining all of these benefits without lifting a finger.

1. Activate the parasympathetic nervous system and reduce blood pressure.
2. Enhance respiratory functions: increase respiratory strength and endurance.
3. Improve attention and fine-motor coordination/performance.

So… Nadi Shodhana is good for our hearts; good for our lungs; and good for our heads.

Explore, experiment, find what works for you, and above all, continue your journey inwards!

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