- Exercise & Fitness
How Alternate Nostril Breathing Works
Alternate-Nostril Breathing is another powerful yoga exercise that helps you maximize in your body the flow of prana or chi or life energy. While doing this, Alternate-Nostril Breathing helps calm your racing mind and reduce your racing heart rate.
Now that you have mastered the Three-Part Breath breathing technique, which I know you have, because you've read my hub on Three-Part Breath, it is time to move on to Alternate-Nostril Breathing, which is the next step in developing a beneficial breathing pattern. Alternate-Nostril Breathing is just as easy to do as the other one and you might find it is a little bit more fun.
Benefits of Alternate-Nostril Breathing
Alternate-Nostril Breathing is known for inducing calmness and clarity in the mind. When your mind is racing with thoughts and you find it hard to sort them out, a few minutes of this exercise will help you calm yourself and put your mind in array.
At the same time, this exercise also improves thinking and concentration, and coordinates the operations between the right and left hemispheres of your brain. This means that doing Alternate-Nostril Breathing prepares you to do mental work more efficiently.
When done regularly and in accordance with the rules of Three-Part Breath, Alternate-Nostril Breathing greatly increases blood circulation in the abdominal region contributing to a healthier appetite and an improved digestion. Moving the muscles around the solar plexus causes gentle pressure on the intestines and digestive organs as well as helps the diaphragm to fully expand and contract while gently mobilizing the liver.
How to do Alternate-Nostril Breathing
Alternate-Nostril Breathing builds on the Three-Part Breath technique that I described in another hub. You should be able to do Three-Part Breath effortlessly, before you attempt this exercise.
- Sit in a Lotus position or in a chair - spine erect - and do at least twenty seconds of Three-Part Breathing.
- Close your eyes and close your right nostril using your thumb.
- Take a deep, slow and steady breath through your left nostril.
- After keeping it in for a few seconds, open your right nostril and close your left nostril with your forefinger.
- Exhale completely through your right nostril. (Completely means completely!)
- Repeat step 1 to 5 for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Watch a perfect presentation of Alternate-Nostril Breathing.
Having done these exercises for a couple of weeks, you should begin to experience the results in clearer thinking, an improved digestion, lowered anxiety levels and an overall sense of mental stability.