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Breathing for Stress Relief

Updated: May 2, 2020

I just wanted to share a quick exercise with you which I find extremely helpful in relieving stress and anxiety. It's called Nadi Shodhana or Alternative Nostril breathing and I find it to have many benefits. It's an exercise you can do anywhere; whether you're at home or in a public setting, this breathing exercise can quickly shift you from a space of anxiety or stress into a space of calm and relief. It does take a bit of concentration and practice but once you've got it then it's easy.

This technique is used to align the right and left hemispheres of the brain. It reduces anxiety and stress; lowering your heart rate to relieve tension. It revitalizes a tired mind and body providing energy, without making you feel sleepy like some other breathing exercises. It also purifies the body’s channels so that life force energy can travel more easily within the body. It's also a great tool to use to get into the zone for meditation or visualisation practices.

So here's how you do it:

Alternate Nostril Breathing: Step-By-Step
  1. Find a comfortable seat. You can sit cross-legged or on your knees. If this is uncomfortable try sitting on a cushion and this should make it more comfortable for you.

  2. Feel your sit-bones ground you as you lift ever so slightly from the crown of the head, creating a long spine.

  3. Rest your left arm comfortably, moving your right hand towards the nose.

  4. Using the right thumb, softly close the right nostril, and inhale as slowly as you can through the left nostril, then close it with your ring finger.

  5. Pause.

  6. Open and exhale slowly through the right nostril.

  7. With the right nostril open, inhale slowly, then close it with the thumb.

  8. Pause.

  9. Exhale through the left nostril.

  10. Once your exhalation is complete, inhale through the left.

  11. Pause before moving to the right.

  12. Repeat this pattern five to ten times, and then release your right hand down and ease back into normal breathing.

Let me know how it goes for you! Hope it helps you as much as it does me.

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