Alternate nostril breathing is a technique that is used to restore balance and equilibrium. It might come in handy over the Christmas period or through one’s retirement generally. Of all the yoga techniques posted so far by Mrs Summerhouse this is my favourite, probably because it is easy to do and effective. I have used it before I presented to a large group of education people to calm my nerves. I have also used it to lower my blood pressure before a visit to the doctor. A few weeks ago I’d rushed to one of my diabetic appointments and my blood pressure was high I told the nurse I could lower it by using this technique, as she wasn’t familiar with the strategy she asked me to demonstrate which I duly did. My blood pressure reduced by about 20 points in the space of a few minutes.Over to Mrs Summerhouse :
The beauty of alternate nostril breathing is that it can be employed anywhere without any great embarrassment. If you haven’t tried it before, to practice the technique find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Sitting in an upright comfortable position take a few deep, normal breaths through both of your nostrils.
Then raise the right hand up to the nose and softly cover the end of the right nostril with your right thumb (position 1). Don’t squeeze your nose. Inhale through your left nostril.
Close your left nostril with your ring finger so that both nostrils are closed and retain the breath for a few seconds (position 2). Then release the right nostril to exhale. Pause before taking a fresh inhalation through your right nostril.
Close the right nostril with your right thumb to retain the breath then raise the ring finger off your left nostril and exhale (position 3).
This constitutes one cycle and this cycle will be repeated in the same manner for a minimum of five minutes. But you can practice longer if you have the time. Completion of the cycle should be through your left nostril. At the end of the practice sit with your hands in your lap breathing normally through both nostrils and notice how you feel.
Caution – this should be a silent practice, avoid straining or noisy, violent sniffing.