Alternate Nostril Breathing or Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
To breathe consciously is a powerful act. The process of breathing falls at the intersection of your voluntary nervous system (conscious acts) and your autonomic nervous system (unconscious acts). Pranayama, or conscious breathing, can help to balance the sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and relax) branches of the nervous system.
Alternate Nostril Breathing balances the two hemispheres (left and right) of the brain and body, resulting in a balance in your physical and mental well-being. While practicing this technique, focus on feeling your sit bones connect with the earth.
How to practice alternate nostril breathing:
Sit in a comfortable seated position. Ensure that your spine is straight and roll your shoulders down your back
Rest your left hand on your left knee or lap
Bring your index and middle finger of your right hand into a “peace sign” and either fold them into your palm or rest them on the bridge of your nose
Place your thumb gently on your right nostril and your ring and pinky fingers onto your left nostril
Begin with an exhale out of both nostrils
Close your right nostril with your thumb. Inhale through your left nostril. Pause for a moment
Close your left nostril with your ring and pinky fingers
Release the right nostril and exhale through it. Pause for a moment
Inhale through the right nostril. Close the right nostril with your thumb. Pause
Release your left nostril and exhale through it
This completes one round of Nadi Shodhana. Repeat this pattern for 5 to 8 rounds.