Alternate nostril breathing is one of the most powerful yoga breathing techniques at your disposal.
It will stop a panic attack, calm anxiety and allow you to balance your right and left hemispheres, giving you full access to your brain potential.
You can learn how to do alternate nostril breathing – also called nadi shodhana in the yoga tradition – by clicking on this link.
Here’s a great story about alternate nostril breathing.
One of my long-term yoga students went to the bank one day.
Somehow or another, there was a massive mistake at the bank and thousands of dollars were missing from the bank account she managed for her family farm.
There was nothing my yoga student could do except get a hold of her own emotions.
As the thought of having to explain to all her relatives how their money had been lost flashed through her mind, she started practicing alternate nostril breathing and stopped her own panic attack in its tracks.
I am not sure whether I first learned alternate nostril breathing while studying yoga or when I was studying healing work for the brain.
This breathing technique is also used by students before a test because it turns on the non-dominant side of your brain, allowing you to see both the big picture and have access to the details.
As you press your fingers into a specific acupressure point on your nose, you balance the pituitary gland in your brain, which in turn governs your thyroid and adrenal glands, so this is a very powerful breathing technique for balancing not only your nervous system but also your endocrine glands.
Although I demonstrate it as the sixth breathing exercise in the Eight Minutes To Inner Peace routine, I usually practice alternate nostril breathing for at least two minutes when I am practicing it on my own apart from other pranayma techniques.
I like this tool so much because very often in life we find ourselves in situations – like my yoga student at the bank – where the only resource we have to calm our minds is our own body.
In yogic tradition, the two main energy channels on either side of the spine are the Ida and Pingala. As you practice alternate nostril breathing, you are balancing these two major energy channels, therefore balancing your own life force.
You may notice that one side or possibly both sides of your nostrils are blocked before you begin. I recommend you blow your nose before you begin if this is the case.
Practicing alternate nostril breathing anytime, anywhere is a great technique for allowing you to be calm, present and empowered.