Breathe Your Way to Wellness With the Yoga Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique
Do you find that you don’t appreciate the little experiences of each day as much as you should, whether it’s a pleasant conversation, a delightful meal or a spectacular sunset? Don’t you owe it to yourself to savour these gifts? We can all create greater appreciation and connection with our world by slowing down and becoming more aware. Connecting our appreciation with our breathing is an excellent way to do this.
In my last post I shared some breathing exercises for you to try. Do you find that you forget to deeply breathe for days on end? It’s not unusual that your mind gets busy with day-to-day concerns and that it has trouble quieting down. One thing I’ve found to be very helpful is to leave visual reminders throughout your home, car and office. It could be as simple as coloured dots strategically placed to catch your eye and remind you to slow down and breathe. Or you could use fashionable wall art, signs, or shelf decoration that remind you to breathe.
Rather than worrying about the past or the future, learn to be present in the moment.
Use breathing to achieve awareness. Practice cueing your breathing process throughout the day in a variety of good and bad circumstances (cooking a meal, travelling to work, talking with a co-worker). Breathing in reminds you to open yourself fully to the experience, to how you feel, what you’re thinking, and how you’re reacting. Breathing out lets the tension, worry, and anxiety flow away. The next inhalation opens you again.
You can counteract emotional distress, fear, grief and anxiety by simply learning to breathe through the experience. It doesn’t matter if the strong emotion is caused by something real or imagined. What you perceive or believe in your mind manifests in your body in a physical way. You become tense, and tension affects your ability to think clearly, act rationally, breathe deeply and relax. Tension also causes pain, anxiety and panic. Shallow breathing serves in a self-protective function – that of cutting off a feeling you don’t want to handle. On the other hand, if you can learn to release your strong emotions through breathing awareness, you can break the negative, destructive power of these strong emotions. The conscious use of breath is a valuable tool in learning to express emotions appropriately.
Today I’d like to teach you how to do the yoga alternate nostril breathing, which will significantly enhance your emotional wellbeing. Involving both nostrils allows your body to become balanced. But first you must increase your awareness of imbalanced breathing so you can bring it back into balance. I encourage you to do this exercise in short practice sessions daily.
- Exhale completely, using both nostrils.
- Press your finger against your right nostril, closing it completely.
- Inhale slowly and smoothly through the left nostril only.
- Hold that inhaled breath for a few comfortable seconds.
- Then close the left nostril and exhale through the right nostril.
- Hold while comfortable.
- Inhale through the right nostril only.
- Release your left nostril and close off the right.
- Exhale through the left nostril. Hold.
- Keep switching between left and right nostrils as you inhale and exhale rhythmically for a total of 10 to 15 sets.
- Go back to breathing through both nostrils.
Your body really does know how to heal itself if you provide it with the balance and harmony it needs. Breathing is a primary method for correcting any disharmony. Learn to listen to what your body is telling you as it attempts to regain balance. Responding to those messages and you’ll feel more centered and at peace as you learn to accept your limitations and be forgiving of yourself and others.
More than creating greater satisfaction in life, proper breathing can increase your concentration, assist you to tune into your deeper, creative self, AND make you physically, emotionally and mentally healthier. Are you ready to feel a greater connectedness with your family, friends, community, and the Earth? Contact me and I’ll support, coach and hold you accountable as you create the deeply meaningful life you crave.