The Thinking Man’s Breath By Cheryl Alker

We have previously discussed the cleansing breath and how to change from becoming a chest breather to using your diaphragm correctly to achieve heightened well-being.

As a follow up to this post, I would like to give you information on another wonderful breathing technique: Alternate Nostril Breathing.

The majority of us will not breathe through each nostril equally; right now, you will be favoring either your left or right nostril. By simply practicing a few rounds of alternate nostril breathing for a few minutes each day, you can help restore any imbalances in your brain, improve sleep, encourage a calmer emotional state, boost your thinking power and soothe your nervous system. Interested?

Left Nostril For Calming – Right Nostril For Energy

Your nose is directly linked to your brain and nervous system. Breathing in only through your left nostril will access the right “feeling” hemisphere of your brain, and breathing in only through your right nostril will access the left “thinking” hemisphere of your brain. Consciously alternating you breath between either nostril will allow you to activate and access your whole brain.


  1. Close the right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through the left nostril. Do this to the count of four seconds.
  2. Immediately close the left nostril with your right ring finger and little finger, and at the same time remove your thumb from the right nostril and exhale through this nostril. Do this to the count of eight seconds. This completes a half round.
  3. Inhale through the right nostril to the count of four seconds. Close the right nostril with your tight thumb and exhale through the left nostril to the count of eight seconds. This completes one full round.

Start by doing three rounds, adding one per week until you are doing seven rounds.

Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing

  1. Improves Energy Levels: A few rounds of alternate nostril breathing are a quick pick-me-up if you are feeling flat, tired or even stressed. It provides your body with a much needed dose of oxygen to the blood, therefore revitalizing you.
  2. Improves Brain Function: Alternate nostril breathing brings equal amounts of oxygen to both sides of the brain for improved brain function.  Five minutes of alternate nostril breathing before an exam or interview is a great way to access your whole brain for improved performance.
  3. Cleanse Your Lungs: A daily five-minute practice morning and night of alternate nostril breathing is a great way to remove stale air and impurities from the bottom of you lungs. Remember, 70% of our body’s waste products are eliminated via our lungs.
  4.  Improves Sleep: If you can’t sleep at night lie on your right-hand side, gently close your right nostril and breathe through your left nostril. This will allow you to access the right hemisphere of your brain, which is calming.

Alternate nostril breathing should not be practiced if you have a cold or if your nasal passages are blocked in any way.

Filed Under: FaceYoga Fusion

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