Another popular breathing technique used in yoga pranayama is the ‘Alternate Nostril Breathing‘.

Alternate breathing a little bit of a more advanced technique. It has several benefits, though. It helps concentrate the mind more, gives more oxygen to the body and increases the energy levels in your body. It calms the nerves at times of anxiety and helps in meditation.

The technique is pretty simple:

  1. Close your right nostril with the thumb of your right hand
  2. Breath in deeply and slowly through your left nostril
  3. Close your left nostril as well (both nostrils are now closed) and hold your breath
  4. Open right nostril and breath out slowly.
  5. Hold a bit
  6. Breath in through the right nostril
  7. Close the right nostril and hold your breath.
  8. Open the left nostril and breath out.

This was one round of alternate nostril breathing.

Some notes:

  • The timing varies between various sources. One place suggests 2:8:4 timing (See description of timing). I do it in my own timing, as my body suggests it, deeply and slowly, usually on counts of 8 (8:8:8).
  • You should do it with your eyes closed.
  • You might start with only several rounds at first and then gradually increase the count.
  • You may notice that breathing with one nostril is easy and with the other it is harder. Do don’t be alarmed by this, this is normal. The air flows slower through one of the nostril at all times. Actually there are rounds of about 90 minutes where one nostril is somewhat closed and the other is open. After 90 minutes the nostrils change and the other is more free for the airflow.