When breathing is restricted and shallow your body doesn’t feel safe. Muscles tense. Chest tightens. Jaw clenches. You under-breathe. The mind becomes anxious. Thoughts race.
I’m a firm believer that breath is medicine. The practice of Alternate Nostril Breathing can help calm an agitated, over-anxious mind.
I wholeheartedly believe that Alternate Nostril Breathing is up there, as one of the most therapeutic calming rituals. It profoundly helps to settle, calm and nourish an agitated mind and wired nervous system. Even after only two minutes you can feel and notice a distinct difference as to how you feel. Below, I will outline 5 benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing and some simple how to’s, to get you started.
|| Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing ||
1. It revitalizes you.
A few rounds of Alternate Nostril Breathing is a quick pick me up if you are feeling flat, tired or over stressed. It provides your body with a much needed dose of extra energy.
2. It calms an agitated mind:
Many are prone to worrying. A few minutes of focused Alternate Nostril Breathing is helpful in calming the “over thinking” and “over-doing” mind.
3. It encourages a calmer emotional state:
In times of emotional distress and upset, a few rounds of mindful Alternate Nostril Breathing will soften the intensity of an over-stimulated emotional state. The longer you practice, the more stable your thinking, and the calmer your emotions will become.
4. It improves sleep:
If you have trouble sleeping, lay on your right hand side, gently close your right nostril with your right thumb and breath through your left nostril. See if this simple gentle practice helps in getting a sounder nights rest.
5. It soothes your nervous system:
By focusing on your breath and deepening it, your brain will register this message and trigger the parasympathetic nervous system. You can effectively switch your nervous system from a stressed response, into a relaxation response.
|| Alternate Nostril Breathing How To’s ||
Step one: Use right thumb to close off right nostril.
Step two: Inhale slowly through left nostril.
Step three: Pause for a second.
Step four: Now close left nostril with ring finger and release thumb off right nostril.
Step five: Exhale through your right nostril.
Step six: Now, inhale through right nostril.
Step seven: Pause.
Step eight: Use thumb to close of right nostril.
Step nine: Breathe out through left nostril.
This is one round. Start slowly with 1 or 2 rounds and gradually increase. Never force your breathing. Sit quietly for a few moments after you have finished. Enjoy the benefits.
Know your breath is medicine.
I hope you have found this breathing exercise useful. Please reach out if I can be helpful or resourceful in any way. I am a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher in Newport Beach, California. You can contact me HERE. I offer face-to-face sessions in Orange County as well as, online through eTherapi.
photo cred. www.michellegardella.com