Pranayama| Alternative Nostril Breathing



Noun: pranayama

1. (in yoga) the regulation of the breath through certain techniques and exercises.

Pranayama simply means 'control of breath'.
I first tried yogic breathing techniques back when I was living in France, so the benefits were a little lost in translation at first, but once we got going, I could definitely feel it!

Alternative Nostril Breathing

or Nadi Shodhana, is one of the favoured pranayama techniques as it is a quick way to balance the nervous system, calming and centring yourself. It also enhances concentration and even helps to alleviate respiratory allergens than can cause hay fever-like symptoms. It's great to do first thing in the morning or before meditation

As with all breathing practises, try to avoid practising after meals as your full stomach will press against your diaphragm which can restrict your lungs. Also, when you inhale, expand your belly first, followed by your chest and when exhaling, release air from your chest first then your belly.

Please make sure that if at any point you feel a shortness of breath or you're starting to feel light-headed, stop the practise and rest with a few normal/natural breaths. You may start again once you feel your nervous system has relaxed.

1. To start, sit up straight in a comfortable cross-legged position, maybe sitting or leaning against a cushion. Ensure that your head is aligned over your heart and your heart over your pelvis.
Roll your shoulders back and down, letting them grow heavy to release any tension and place your palms on your knees.
Keep your breastbone lifted so that your chest is open.
Gaze ahead softly or close your eyes.

2. Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply several times until you feel relaxed and your breath feels full.

3. Then take your right hand and bring your index and middle fingers to rest against your forehead between your brows (at your third eye or Ajna chakra).

4. Exhale gently, but fully, then use your thumb to close your right nostril and inhale through the left.

5. Release the right nostril and use your ring finger/4th digit to close the left.

6. Exhale slowly then inhale again through the right nostril.

7. Release the left nostril, close the right and exhale. This is one round.

Visualise the breath traveling up and down the right or left side of the spine - from the pelvic floor up through the throat, face and head. (Right or left depending on which nostril you're breathing through).
The duration of the inhale, exhale and retention when switching nostrils should be about equal.

Do about five more rounds, breathing normally to rest afterwards, then repeat a few times if you wish.

8. On your final round, exhale fully through the left nostril. then place your right hand on your knee.

9. Take several full, deep breaths before allowing your breath to return to normal.

10. Observe the effects of the practise for a few minutes - the sensations in your body, your state of mind.

11. When you're ready, open your eyes, slowly get up and have a beautiful day!






  1. great post! very informative :) xo


  2. I'm gonna try this!! I love stuff like this so this is such a great post X

  3. Great post, I can't wait to try this!


  4. I've always wanted to try yoga! x