Recently I shared alternate Nostril Breathing or Nadi Shodhana, in relation to anxiety and depression. As it is such a beautiful practice, I would like to share it again and encourage people to incorporate it into their day!
This Breathing practice is very helpful for quietening the mind and tones the parasympathetic nervous system.
Sit in a comfortable position with your legs crossed. You can also sit on a chair or at a wall if you need the support.
Relax your left palm comfortably into your lap and bring your right hand just in front of your face.
With your right hand, bring your pointer finger and middle finger to rest between your eyebrows, lightly using them as an anchor. The fingers we’ll be actively using are the thumb and ring finger.
Close your eyes and take a deep breath in and out through your nose.
Close your right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through the left nostril slowly and steadily.
Close the left nostril with your ring finger so both nostrils are held closed; retain your breath at the top of the inhale for a brief pause.
Open your right nostril and release the breath slowly through the right side; pause briefly at the bottom of the exhale.
Inhale through the right side slowly.
Hold both nostrils closed (with ring finger and thumb).
Open your left nostril and release breath slowly through the left side. Pause briefly at the bottom.
Repeat 5-10 cycles, allowing your mind to follow each breath.
If you’re feeling agitated, anxious, or fearful you might assume that the best yoga practice for you would be one made up of calming poses such as forward bends or restorative poses. But if your mind and energy are out of control, being completely still and willing yourself to relax may make you feel worse. In those situations a dynamic is more helpful, it will help to burn off nervous energy and to give your buzzing mind something to focus on is better.
Supported backbends can then lift the spirits without overly stimulating the nervous system, provided you focus on your breathing and don’t aggressively work the pose.