Day #32: My favorite breathing technique
Step 1. Assume the 'Vulcan' Hand Position
Make the "Vulcan sign" with your right hand (see above image of Spock for a reference).
Modify your vulcan by curling your ring finger over your pinky, and your middle finger over your pointer.
Bring your pointer finger to rest between your eyebrows.
Gently press your thumb on your right nostril and hover your coiled ring and pinky finger over your left nostril. If this is too awkward, just use three fingers - thumb on your nostril, pointer, on your brow, and middle finger over your left nostril. Don't expect it to feel normal, it's not a normal thing to do...
Gently close your eyes - but don't do it just yet or you won't be able to read the rest of the instructions.
Step 2. Steady Breath
Start off with a slow deep and steady inhale through the left nostril with your thumb gently pressing right nostril from step 1.
At the top of your inhale, gently press your left nostril and release your right and then exhale through the right nostril.
Inhale through your right nostril.
At the top of the inhale, press your right nostril and release your left to exhale through your left nostril.
That is 1 round. Keep the pattern from Step 2 going for 1-3 minutes.
Step 3. Stable Mind
When you finish alternating, just take a few moments to breathe naturally before opening your eyes.
I find this practice stabilises my mind. The physical actions require attention. This keeps mind and body focused on the present moment - the current breath.
Steady breathing through both nostrils - even if they don't flow the same (which is common), calms my state of mind and mood. I find a sense of ease and relaxation that I bring into the next moments of my day.
I'm so glad you're still reading - Awesome! Go You! :)
This practice creates a slow and steady breath which activates the parasympathetic nervous system useful for reducing stress, our blood pressure, and for helping us find some calm.
The practice also enhances respiratory strength and endurance - adding to our physical fitness in a gentle way.
Finally, it improves attention and coordination which trains mental and physical skills for performance.
There we have it - Alternate Nostril Breathing (or nadi shodhana) is fantastic for our heart; a workout for our lungs; and training for the mind and body.