Are you feeling tired or stressed? Learning how to do pranayama alternate nostril breathing is one way to obtain the balance you need to successfully make it through the day.
Alternate nostril breathing is a simple breathing technique developed thousands of years ago to balance the flow of oxygen to the brain, and for maintaining overall health. According to ancient yogic theory, a healthy person alternates between each side of the nostril every two hours. When the breath flows through one nostril for more than two hours, this can have an adverse effect on one’s overall health. A blockage in the right nostril, can result in mental and nervous disturbance, and a blockage in the left nostril, can cause reduced brain function and chronic fatigue.
The benefits of practicing the alternate nostril breathing exercise are as follows:
• Aids in the proper function of both sides of the brain, thereby resulting in optimum logical verbal activity and creativity;
• Helps to calm the mind and the nervous system and creates balance;
• Improves sleep quality;
• Increases energy;
• Improves one's overall well-being.
How to Do the Alternate Nostril Breathing Exercise:
1. Press down on the right nostril with your right thumb, and then inhale through the left nostril for four seconds.
2. Close the left nostril with your right ring finger and little finger, while removing your thumb from the right nostril, and then exhale through the right nostril for eight seconds.
3. Inhale through the right nostril for four seconds.
4. Close the right nostril with your right thumb, and then exhale through the left nostril for eight seconds.
Seven rounds of the above steps are recommended. However, if you are a beginner start with three rounds, then gradually increase with one round per week.
Note: Do not practice this breathing technique if your nasal passages are blocked or if you have a cold, as this can lead to complications.