Cape Gazette

Daily Dharma: Alternate Nostril Breathing

By Kaya Wellness & Yoga | Apr 24, 2012
Photo by: Kaya Wellness & Yoga

Practicing a few rounds of alternate nostril breath work each day can improve sleep, restore imbalances in the brain, boost your thinking power and offers a variety of other benefits!  Who knew the nose was so cleaver!

Alternate Nostril Breathing: The nose is directly linked to the bodys central nervous system, hence the beleif in traditional medicine that an imbalance of nasal breathing can be directly linked to many diseases.

As we breath in and out throughout the day we are usually not breathing throughout each nostril equally, usually favoring the left or the right nostril.

It is believed that the right nostril is linked to the left, "thinking" hemisphere of the brain and the left nostril is linked to the right, "feeling" hemisphere of the brain.  Using breath work to conciously alternate between nostrils allows one to activate and access the whole brain.

Try alternate nostril breathing today at work, or after, to relax and slow an overstimulated mind.

How to practice Alternate Nostril Breathing:

It is always good and advisable that this exercise should be learned under supervision of yoga instructor.

1) Use right thumb to close off right nostril.

2) Inhale slowly through left nostril

3) Pause for a second

4) Now close left nostril with ring finger and release thumb off right nostril

5) Exhale through your right nostril

6) Now, inhale through right nostril

7) Pause

8) Use thumb to close of right nostril

9) Breathe out through left nostril

10) This is one round. Start slowly with 1 or 2 rounds and gradually increase.

11) Sit quietly for a few moments after you have finished.

Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing include:

  • Revitalization
  • Improves brain function
  • Cleanses lungs
  • Calms an agitated mind and brings about a calmer emotional state
  • Merges the left and right hemispheres of the brain allowing one to use the brain to its full potential.
  • Improves sleep & enhances rest and relaxation
  • Soothes the nervous system
  • Regulates the cooling and warming cycles of the body
  • Wonderful way to clear the mind and prepare for meditation


  • Never force this type of breath work or any type of breath work
  • Do not hold your breath if you have high blood pressure
  • Practicing on an empty stomach is preferred

It is always good and advisable that this exercise should be learned under supervision of yoga instructor.

Join us for a class at Kaya and practice this form of breathwork and a variety of others!

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Information for this article was gathered from The Healthy Living Lounge

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