Alternate nostril breathing is primarily a balancing form of breath control. By alternately stimulating the mucous membrane on the inside of each nostril, the left and right hemispheres of the brain are activated and harmonized. This synchronizes creative and analytic thinking, allowing us to operate more efficiently.
Additionally, the brain oscillates at the frequency of alpha waves during alternate nostril breathing, which is associated with relaxed alertness. Following completion, the brain then shifts to beta waves, which are related to active processing and analytic thinking. Alternate nostril breathing thus promotes thinking that is simultaneously active yet relaxed.
In addition to adopting the comfortable seated position used in other forms of breath control, alternate nostril breathing also uses a special hand posture.
Raise the right hand in front of the face and curl the index and middle fingers in towards the palm.
Alternatively, the index and middle fingers can be gently placed in between the eyebrows.
Hold your thumb just above the right nostril and the ring finger just above the left.
These two fingers control the flow of breath in the nostrils by alternately blocking the flow into one and then the other.
Begin by closing the right nostril with the thumb and inhaling through the left nostril for a count of 3.
Close the left nostril and hold the breath for a count of 3.
Remove the thumb and exhale through the right nostril for a count of 6.
Inhale through the right nostril for a count of 3.
Cover the right nostril and hold the breath for a count of 3.
Remove the ring finger and exhale through the left nostril for a count of 6.
This is 1 round.
Practice 5 rounds.