Alternate Nostril Breath / Nadi Shoddhona balances prana flow in two of the major nadis: Ida and Pingala, which end at the left and right nostrils, respectively, and harmonizes the right and left hemispheres of the brain. This pranayama has been shown to improve nervous system resiliency by activating the vagus nerve and enhancing heart rate variability.
- Find a comfortable seat with a straight spine. Rest your left hand in your lap and look at your right palm. Curl your index and middle fingers towards your palm. Place your right thumb against your right nostril and use your right ring finger against your left nostril.
- Let go of Ujjayi breath, quiet your eyes. Press your thumb to your right nostril and exhale everything out of the left.
- Inhale through your left nostril, and at the top of your inhalation, close both nostrils, then exhale through your right.
- Inhale through your right nostril, then exhale through your left nostril.
- To enhance the calming effect of this breathing exercise, slow down your exhalations, so they’re a little longer than your inhalations.
- Practice for 3-5 minutes or more.