Exercises- Alternate Nostril Breathing

  1. From your position, try to lift the top of your head towards the sky as you lengthen your spine.  
  2. Lightly draw your shoulder blades in and down along your back so you have more space to breathe.  See if you can relax the muscles around your jaw and neck. Take a few deep breaths, in and out through your nose. 
  3. Relax your left hand on your lap or down by your side. Bring your right hand in front of your face.
  4. Using your right hand, place your pointer and middle fingers in the space between your eyebrows.  These two fingers will stay there during the breathing exercise.  You will be moving your thumb and ring finger only.
  5. Either close your eyes or find a steady gazing point ahead of you.  Take a deep breath in and out through your nose.

This exercise may be challenging if you have a runny or stuffy nose. Feel free to stop at any time if this proves too challenging or if the flow of air is too constricted.

  1. Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through the left nostril, slowly and steadily. 
  2. Close the left nostril with your right ring finger.  Take a second with both nostrils closed.
  3. Lift your right thumb and exhale slowly and fully through the right nostril. 
  4. Now inhale slowly through the right nostril.
  5. Place your thumb over your right nostril, closing it. Retain your breath for a moment, then open your left nostril to exhale.
  6. Try to focus on steadying your inhales and exhales. Repeat this pattern. 
  7.   Continue this alternate nostril breathing for 15 more rounds. 

If you begin to feel light headed or anxious you can either remove your right hand, and return to your normal breathing pattern, or you can switch nostrils more quickly without pausing in between sides to retain your breath. 

  1. Continue for a few more repetitions. 
  2. Slowly, lower your right hand into your lap. Continue to breathe naturally in and out through your nose. If your eyes were closed, slowly open your eyes and let your gaze rest softly in front of you, or on a fixed spot on the floor. 
  3. Notice any sensations or changes that may have occurred during this exercise. 

Conclusion

 

Short and sweet, the exercise has ended. You can use this exercise when feeling overwhelmed with daily life stress or feeling unable to slow down and pay attention in the present moment.