The Balanced Life

LA Health and Wellness Blog

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Alternate nostril breathing is something that everyone can do. It immediately calms the nervous system and provides a feeling of well-being, helps to prevent panic attacks, as well as providing a sense of calm. This particular breathing technique is especially useful for people who have stress-related problems, such as headaches, insomnia, and anxiety.

There are many benefits that a person can gain from doing this particular breathing technique.

Amongst them:

  • It helps to detoxify the brain and balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain
  • It balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain, does a lot in balancing the chakras, and also the Ida and Pingala Nadis
  • It trains the mind to focus at one point
  • It trains the mind to focus at one point thanks to the repeated attention to the nostrils.
  • It’s been studied to help people who are suffering from depression and anxiety-related issues.
  • It’s an easy way for switching gears from stressful thoughts to more calming thoughts
  • It’s a cooling breath and helps burn up excess energy in the body
  • It quiets the chattering mind that keeps us up at night
  • When we breathe in this way, we are encouraging a cooling, restful, peaceful energy to flow through the body which encourages a positive state of mind.

Other benefits:

  • Oxygen is delivered to all the cells in the body and helps to neutralize acidity
  • Stimulates secretion of growth hormones, resulting in the healing of faster
  • The respiratory rate increases when you’re breathing in the alternate nostril breathing technique, which slows down the heart rate and lowers stress levels
  • Heart rate, deep meditation, blood pressure, and body temperature, and hormone levels are all affected by the alternate nostril breathing technique
  • The ujjayi breath in the practice of alternate nostril breathing acts as a filter mechanism for the inspired air to avoid the nasal passage from getting any dust or particles
  • It strengthens the nervous system and improves the functioning of the senses
  • The practice of alternate nostril breathing helps you cope with the mental, physical, and emotional stress and improve the quality of your life. Here’s how you can practice this amazing breathing exercise to balance the chemistry of the body.

How to practice the alternate nostril breathing technique

In order to practice alternate nostril breathing, sit comfortably in a quiet space.

  1. Place the left hand on the left knee, and place the ring finger and the little finger between your eyes. Place your right hand on your stomach in the “mudra” position – the right hand just below the navel, and the right thumb and the right forefinger touching each other.
  2. Slowly inhale through the right nostril.
  3. Pause at the top of the breath.
  4. Then exhale through the right nostril.
  5. Then, close the right nostril with your right thumb, and inhale through the left nostril.
  6. After that, close the left nostril with your right ring finger. Exhale through the right nostril.
  7. You’ve successfully completed a round of alternate nostril breathing.
  8. Repeat this 3-5 times.

Benefits of alternate nostril breathing

Because breathing in this way balances the left and right hemispheres of the brain, it’s ideal for people who have migraines, stress-related problems, or even a hangover. It’s also ideal practice for meditation and helps strengthen the nervous system, which makes it easier to cope with mental, physical, and emotional stress.

The alternate nostril breathing technique helps to bring about transformation in our lives. It is an ancient breathing technique that has been practiced in India for thousands of years and is still being practiced to bring about transformation.

Long-term benefits of alternate nostril breathing It is believed by many people that the shortterm benefits of alternate nostril breathing are augmented by the longterm benefits of this practice. Long-term benefits include: a) it helps to balance your autonomic nervous system b) it helps to relieve chronic fatigue syndrome, stress, and anxiety c) it helps to reduce tension, and d) it improves your overall sense of wellbeing.

How often to practice alternate nostril breathing?

You can do alternate nostril breathing one or more times a day. Start with one time a day. If you choose to do it more times each day, do it at the same time if possible so that it is part of your daily routine. The most important thing is to do it regularly. If you do alternate nostril breathing several times a day, do not do it all at the same time. For example, if you do it in the morning and evening, wait at least a couple of hours in between.

What to do before alternate nostril breathing?

Before you start alternate nostril breathing, it can help to do a little warm-up. For example, doing a few rounds of breath awareness can be a good way to start an alternate nostril breathing practice session. This is especially helpful if you are doing it after not having done it for a while. It can also help to do a little stretching before you start alternate nostril breathing.

What to do after ending an alternate nostril breathing session?

After you have done alternate nostril breathing, it can help to do a little relaxation after a session. For example, you can do some slow, regular breathing for a minute both with your eyes closed as well as with your eyes open. Another thing you can do is to sit for a minute and be still without closing your eyes.

How do I stop my eyes from watering?

This might happen to you if you do alternate nostril breathing at night. The good news is that this will not harm your eyes. It is also something that only happens to some people. Some people say that it helps to keep the fists closed when you press and hold your nostrils. Other people say that their eyes stop watering if they put their index fingers up to their eyes.  What I would suggest, is that you experiment a bit with how you close your nostrils and see what seems to work for you.

How do I stop sneezing?

You might want to sneeze during alternate nostril breathing. If that does happen to you, try using a different hand position, to see if that prevents you from sneezing. If you are holding your right hand over your left nostril, try switching it and put your left hand over your right nostril. If you usually hold your left hand over your right nostril, try switching it and put your right hand over your left nostril. If neither of those works, you can do some breath awareness or some warm-up exercises before you start alternate nostril breathing. It can help to also do a little more stretching afterward.

How long do I have to do alternate nostril breathing to get health benefits?

You may start feeling better right away. However, it can often take a few weeks, to see some physical benefits. It can take a few months before you really feel the benefits on your mood and mind. For some people, the effects are more subtle than that. It is similar to getting used to a new medication. It doesnt help you immediately the same way it does after a few weeks or months.

Does alternate nostril breathing help me sleep better?

Alternate nostril breathing can contribute to you feeling more satisfied after you get up in the morning. If you practice it, it can make up for some of the benefits you get from sleeping more. It can help you get a good nights sleep. If it does help you sleep better, the best time to do it is before you go to sleep. If you do alternate nostril breathing before you go to sleep, it can make it easier for you to fall asleep.  

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