In our fast-paced society, stress seems to have become a kind of badge of honor that many of us wear whether we intend to or not. For those who are concerned about their overall health and wellbeing, stress management isn’t optional; it’s a critical factor in allowing our bodies to heal from the inside out.
Did you know that certain conscious breathing techniques can be effective stress reducers? One of our favorites is Alternate Nostril Breathing, where it is historically believed in Ayurvedic medicine and yoga, to restore balance and harmony to the two hemispheres of the brain, and is also thought to enhance physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
Additionally, this simple technique provides the following benefits:
- Reducing anxiety and stress
- Lowering blood pressure
- Revitalizing mind and body
How to Do Alternate Nostril Breathing – Step by Step
- Sit comfortably and quietly, lifting the crown of your head and elongating your spine. Resting your left hand on your left knee, move your right hand toward your nose.
- Use the thumb of your right hand to gently close your right nostril. Inhale slowly through your left nostril, then close your left nostril with your ring finger and pause for a moment before releasing and exhaling slowly through your right nostril.
- Now, keeping your left nostril closed, inhale slowly through the right nostril, then close it with your thumb and pause for a moment before releasing and exhaling slowly through your left nostril.
- Repeat this pattern several times. When you are ready to return to normal breathing, gently move your right hand to your right knee and ease back into your normal breathing.
Next time you notice you’re feeling stressed, give Alternate Nostril Breathing a try! You might be surprised at how effective it is at making a difference in your stress levels.
Donna Stephens, BCN, CNHP, LDHS