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Breathing Practice to Calm & Balance You


Article by Courtney Sheber

Photography by Courtney Sheber

This breathing practice is called Nadi Shodhana or “alternate nostril breathing.” It is a very simple and powerful technique to calm your mind and balance your right and left brain. The breath is our best tool for restoring peace. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, follow these steps to recenter yourself.

  1. Find a comfortable seated position on the ground or in a chair and sit with a tall spine. 
  2. Rest your left hand in your lap. With the right hand, bring your index finger and middle finger together and fold them against your palm. Keep your thumb and ring finger free to assist the right and left nostril breathing.

3. Take a deep breath in and out through your nose. 

4. Close your left nostril with your ring finger. Inhale through the right nostril slowly and fully. 

5. Close your right nostril with your thumb so both nostrils are held closed. Keep this inhale for at least five seconds. 

6. Release the left nostril and exhale slowly through the left. Hold the breath out at the bottom of the exhale. 

7. Inhale through the left nostril. 

8. Hold both nostrils closed at the top of the breath with the ring finger and thumb.

9. Open the right nostril and exhale. Pause at the bottom. 

10. Repeat this 7-12 cycles with even inhales and exhales. 

Notice the difference of the mind and body. 

Benefits of alternate nostril breathing: 

  • Restores balance in the left and right hemispheres of the brain
  • Improves focus and clarity of the mind
  • Improves lung function and capacity 
  • Resets the nervous system and calms the body
  • Removes toxins
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves sleep 

You can do this practice any time you need to press the reset button. You’ll be glad you did! 

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