Yoga In 60 Seconds ~ Alternate Nostril Breathing Exercise
A Breathing Technique To Improve Focus
Alternate nostril breathing might sound a bit weird but it is a popular and effective balancing breathing exercise. It can help clear your mind and improve focus along with slowing the breathing rate which calms the central nervous system.
It can be used as standalone practice, prior to meditation or your physical pose practice. I love it to refocus me during the day if I’m finding it hard to concentrate. Every important meeting or job interview should begin with alternate nostril breathing. It’s also been shown in studies to help insomnia sufferers. Great news if sleep is something that you struggle with. You’re not alone by the way, it’s what brought me to yoga over 30 years ago and I haven’t looked back. You can read more about my workshops on yoga for insomnia.
Research On How It Works
This technique has featured in a few studies with various findings:
- There is evidence to support its use to decrease heart rate and breathing rhythm and therefore cause parasympathetic nervous system dominance which creates a feeling of calm (Jovanow, E. 2005).
- It featured in another study which showed that participants had an increase in plasma melatonin levels after 3 months of yoga practice (Harinath, 2004). (melatonin is your naturally produced “sleep drug”)
- It was part of another study that showed improved stress and self-confidence scores in insomnia sufferers without any side effects (Sobana, 2013)
- Enhances respiratory function in school students (Sivapriya, 2010)
Not all breathing techniques suit everyone and that’s ok. If you don’t particularly like this breathing exercise, there are others you can try. You could check out the video on up & down yoga breathing and reclined diaphragmatic breathing.
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