Alternate Nostril Breathing: A Simple Way to Immediately Reduce Stress

Alternate nostril breathing is a quick and easy way to reduce stress, improve heart conditions and center yourself. It’s simple and only requires your hand and 5 minutes of your day (Yes… there are other 5 minute relaxation techniques using a hand but I’ll go into the benefits of that another time).

BENEFITS OF ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATHING

  • Lowers perceived stress level and increased sense of wellbeing
  • Normalizes heart rate, irregular heartbeat and blood pressure (when taking slow deep breaths)
  • Normalizes respiratory rate and strengthens diaphragm
  • Reduces anxiety level
  • Increases heart rate variability (good)
  • Stimulates the Vagus Nerve (parasympathetic nervous system activation)
  • Normalizes cortisol levels when done consistently every day

You can use this breathing technique to help manage stresses in your daily life. You may also find that practicing alternate nostril breathing helps you to be more mindful of the present moment.

HOW TO PERFORM ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATHING

  • Sit in a comfortable position with your legs crossed.
  • Place your left hand on your left knee.
  • Lift your right hand up toward your nose.
  • Exhale completely and then use your right thumb to close your right nostril.
  • Inhale through your left nostril and then close the left nostril with your right pinkie.
  • Open the right nostril and exhale through this side.
  • Inhale through the right nostril and then close this nostril.
  • Open the left nostril and exhale through the left side.
  • This is one cycle.
  • Continue for up to 5 minutes once per day.
  • Always complete the practice by finishing with an exhale on the left side.

References:

  1. http://www.ijoy.org.in/article.asp?issn=0973-6131;year=2013;volume=6;issue=2;spage=104;epage=110;aulast=Sharma
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0975947617303224?via%3Dihub
  3. http://www.ijcep.org/article.asp?issn=2348-8832;year=2018;volume=5;issue=2;spage=105;epage=107;aulast=Pal;type=3

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