Reclaim Your Calm: Try Alternate Nostril Breathing

Unlock the power of alternate nostril breathing, an ancient yogic technique, for a calmer, clearer mind, improved lung function, and stress relief.
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Looking for that next level of calm and clarity? You might not need to look any further than your own nose! Yes, we’re serious. The secret might just lie in the power of alternate nostril breathing 12, an ancient yogic breathing technique.

This practice, known as nadi shodhana in Sanskrit, has been a staple in yoga and meditation for centuries. It’s not just a trick to impress your friends but a simple yet powerful technique that can transform your body and mind.

Stick with us, and by the end of this article, you’ll know exactly how to harness this technique, even if you’ve never tried yoga or meditation before. Intrigued? Read on and discover how to breathe your way to a balanced life.

Demystifying Alternate Nostril Breathing: What it is and How it Works

Key Takeaways

  • Alternate nostril breathing is a powerful yogic breathing practice known as nadi shodhana.
  • Benefits of alternate nostril breathing include improved lung function, reduced heart rate, and calm relaxation.
  • Integrate this technique into your daily life to reap its physical and psychological benefits.

What is Alternate Nostril Breathing?

Alternate nostril breathing, or nadi shodhana pranayama, is a breathing practice that alternates between inhaling and exhaling through one nostril at a time. It’s like a dance for your nostrils, except you lead, and your nostrils follow!

How it Works

This breathwork is more than just inhaling and exhaling through different nostrils. It’s about balancing the left and right hemispheres of the brain.

When you close the left nostril and breathe through the right nostril, you stimulate the active side of your brain. Conversely, breathing slowly through the left stimulates the calmer, more reflective side. It’s almost like having a peace treaty between the left and right hemispheres!

Unlocking the Technique: A Step-by-Step Guide to Alternate Nostril Breathing

Ready to unlock the technique? Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position: Grab a cozy seat that allows your spine to be straight.
  2. Place your right hand: Use your right thumb to close your right nostril, and your ring finger to close your left nostril
  3. Inhale slowly through the left nostril: Keep the right nostril closed with the thumb.
  4. Exhale through the right nostril: Close the left nostril with the ring finger.
  5. Inhale through the right nostril, then exhale through the left. That’s one round!
  6. Repeat 5-10 rounds of alternate nostril breathing.

Pro Tip: Gradually increase the length of each inhalation and exhalation.

Reaping the Rewards: The Physical and Mental Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing

Physical Benefits

  • Improve lung function: Helps the lung utilize a greater amount of oxygen.
  • Heart rate: Can stabilize and reduce the heart rate.
  • Respiratory: Enhances respiratory function and circulation.

Mental Benefits

  • Reduce anxiety: Even Hillary Clinton used this technique after the presidential election to find calm!
  • Stress and anxiety: Lowers anxiety levels.
  • Relaxation: Engages the nervous system to promote relaxation.

Integrating into Daily Life: Practical Tips for Regular Practice of Alternate Nostril Breathing

  • Start as a beginner: Begin with just a few minutes and build up.
  • Use before public speaking engagements: Calms those pre-stage jitters.
  • Combine with meditation practice: Enhances your mindfulness sessions.

Busting Myths: Common Misconceptions and Frequently Asked Questions about Alternate Nostril Breathing

  • Myth: It can cure asthma: While it may relieve symptoms, it’s not a cure.
  • FAQ: Can it make you dizzy or nauseous? If you feel lightheaded, reduce the length of your breath.


There you have it, a comprehensive guide to alternate nostril breathing. This ancient technique can do wonders for both your mind and body. So, why not take that first breath toward a more balanced life?

Remember, it’s not just about the nasal passage; it’s about unlocking a world of relaxation and mindfulness. Give it a try; your nostrils (and your peace of mind) will thank you!

Happy breathing, and may your nostrils guide you to serenity!

See our comprehensive overview of all of the stress-relieving breathing methods that include links to individual types and their how-to’s. Or implement some time management methods so you are not getting stressed in the first place!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is alternate nostril breathing good?

Yes, alternate nostril breathing is considered a beneficial practice in many ways. Originating from ancient yogic traditions, it is known to bring about a sense of balance and harmony. It is said to calm the mind, enhance focus, and relieve stress and anxiety. Some studies suggest it might also contribute to improved cardiovascular health. However, individual experiences may vary and it’s always a good idea to approach new practices mindfully.

How long should you alternate nostril breathing?

You can practice alternate nostril breathing for a few minutes to start with and slowly build up to longer durations as you become more comfortable with the technique. A typical session might last anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. It’s important to proceed at a pace that feels right for you and not force anything. Establishing regular daily practice can aid in reaping the fullest benefits.

Why do people do alternate nostril breathing?

People practice alternate nostril breathing for a variety of reasons. Some find it a valuable tool for stress management and promoting mental clarity. Others might use it as part of their meditation practice, finding that it helps them enter a state of deep relaxation. Additionally, it’s believed to improve lung function, enhance respiratory endurance, and promote overall well-being. It’s seen as a simple yet powerful tool for harmony and balance of body and mind.

Which nostril is dominant?

In humans, nostril dominance can actually shift from time to time. This is a process known as the nasal cycle, part of the body’s ultradian rhythms. At any given time, one nostril will slightly predominate, allowing more air to pass through, while the other nostril’s airflow will be slightly restricted. This cycle is thought to switch sides every few hours, though the specific timing can vary from person to person.

Can alternate nostril breathing help with sleep?

Yes, alternate nostril breathing is sometimes used as a tool for promoting better sleep. Its calming and stress-relieving effects can help in transitioning the body and mind towards a state of relaxation that’s conducive to sleep. Also, by fostering body-mind balance and overall well-being, it can support healthy sleep patterns in a more holistic way. As always, it’s best to incorporate it as part of a comprehensive approach to sleep hygiene.


  1. How and why to practice alternate nostril breathing ([]
  2. Nadi Shodhana: Alternate-Nostril Breathing Benefits and Risks ([]
Alex Reijnierse
Alex Reijnierse

Alex Reijnierse is a stress management expert with over a decade of experience in helping individuals effectively manage and reduce stress. He holds a Master of Science (MSc) and has a background in high-pressure environments, which has given him firsthand experience in dealing with chronic stress.