Alternate Nostril Breathing for Well-Being


Our physical, mental, and emotional health is all about harmony. We tend to look at things as either positive or negative, but no one state is ‘wrong’ or ‘right’.

True health arises from balance, and painting with the whole palette; allowing ourselves to rest and replenish, just as much as we focus and act.

The problems come when we find ourselves experiencing too much of one thing, without it’s counter balance to keep us centered.

When this happens there can be a tendency to try and look outside of ourselves for the answer. If only we could have a little bit more of this.. or a little less of that. But when we seek rescue from our outer world, we cut ourselves off from the true source of our power within us.

One of my favorite ways of getting in touch with this power is through breathing.

Each in and out breath is a commitment. It’s a very intentional act of self care; a connection to source that keeps the life-force flowing through us, rather than allowing it to stagnate.

When we settle deeply into our breath, miraculous things start to happen.

I’ve tried many breathing techniques over the years, but the one I keep going back to is alternate nostril breathing. Used for thousands of years to balance both hemispheres of the brain, this is a powerful and simple tool that helps us regain control of our inner world.

Ancient yogic texts tell us that our right nostril is connected to our energy levels, and our left nostril is connected to our emotions.

Breathing through the right nostril is associated with: nurturing energy, vigor, alertness, will power, concentration, and readiness for action.

Breathing through the left nostril is associated with: cleansing, calmness, empathy, sensitivity, and synthesis.

When we breathe through both nostrils alternately, we balance our entire system - becoming energized, soothed, and grounded. It’s a total nervous system reset, and you can practice this as many times as you need to throughout the day.

To try it for yourself, sit somewhere comfortable with your spine straight. Then create a “U” shape with your thumb and index finger.

As we do this practice you’ll be using your thumb to close off your right nostril and your index finger to close off your left nostril.

Begin by closing your left nostril and breathe in deep and slow through your right nostril. Then close your right nostril and exhale slowly through your left nostril.

Now breath in through your left nostril, close it, and breath out through your right nostril.

Again, breath in through your right nostril, and continue going back and fourth alternately between the two for 3 - 5 minutes.

To finish, breathe in deeply, hold the breath for a few seconds, then lower your hand, and exhale.

This technique is simple, but super effective, and I use it daily to maintain a steady state of inner harmony and well being.

If you could use some support creating greater balance in your life, I’d like to invite you to my Goddess Within Wellness Retreat in Boquete, Panama next month. We still have a few spots spots left, and I’ll be sharing all of my tools and techniques for creating your own unique self-care program.