For stress and anxiety reduction, you can find me practicing “alternate nose breathing” or “Nadi Shodhana”! I do it immediately when I wake up before my daily transcendental mediation practice and also right before I go to sleep for the night. It is a tried and tested practice with research backed results/benefits.
Nadi Shodhana is a powerful breathing technique. It is self healing through breath regulation, an important part of India’s ancient holistic system of medicine known as Ayurveda. Most of you know of yoga, which is also part of Ayurveda. Breath work is an important part of yoga.
Benefits of Nadi Shodhana
Reduce stress and anxiety
Clears and releases toxins
Brings balance to the left and right hemispheres of the brain
Calms the nervous system
When to practice Nadi Shodhana
I personally practice it twice a day, when I wake up and also before I go to bed. But, you can also practice it at times that you are feeling extra stressed or anxious. It is a great way to hit the reset button.
How to practice “Alternate Nose Breathing” or “Nadi Shodhana”
1) Take a comfortable seat, make sure your spine is straight
2) Relax your left palm comfortably into your lap and bring your right hand just in front of your face.
3) With your right hand, bring your pointer finger and middle finger to rest between your eyebrows, lightly using them as an anchor. The fingers we’ll be actively using are the thumb and ring finger.
4) Close your eyes and take a deep breath in and out through your nose.
5) Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through the left nostril slowly and steadily.
6) Close the left nostril with your ring finger so both nostrils are held closed; retain your breath at the top of the inhale for a brief pause.
7) Open your right nostril and release the breath slowly through the right side; pause briefly at the bottom of the exhale.
8) Inhale through the right side slowly.
9) Hold both nostrils closed (with ring finger and thumb).
10) Open your left nostril and release breath slowly through the left side. Pause briefly at the bottom.
How long should I practice “Alternate Nose Breathing” or “Nadi Shodhana”
Repeat 5-10 cycles, allowing your mind to follow your inhales and exhales.
Tip: Consistency is helpful, so try to match the length of your inhales, pauses, and exhales. For example, you can start to inhale for a count of five, hold for five, exhale for five, hold for five. You can slowly increase your count as you refine your practice.
In addition to my daily practice of alternate nose breathing, a cup of Caffeine Free Chai also soothes my soul!