When was the last time you felt yourself breathe? The automatic flow of rich oxygen in and out of the lungs hardly registers in our consciousness as we dash between tasks everyday. Only when we get super stressed and anxiety ridden do we notice that our tickers are pumping hard and our breath is quick and shallow.
A damn shame since the brain utilizes 80% of the oxygen we suck down. No wonder we get headaches, can’t concentrate and feel the need to jolt ourselves awake with 5 hour energy shots. We are without a doubt an oxygen deprived society. Try this quick nostral breathing technique to help build neural pathways between the left and right brain, and calm and re-energize your concentration.
You must feel to believe. Give it a go and then I’ll break down why this exercise rocks. Don’t worry about looking weird with your fingers on your nose!
Alternate Nostril Breathing:
1. Assume a meditation posture. This could be standing, sitting or laying down. Which ever position feels comfortable and allows you to release tension in the body.
2. Use your thumb and index finger to press down on one nostril as you alternate breathing through one nostril: Start with pressing down on the right nostril as you breathe in through the left nostril.
3. Switch and press down on the left nostril as you breathe out through the right. Continue with an inhalation through the right nostril.
4. Switch by pressing down once more on the right nostril as you breathe out through the left nostril. Then inhale again through the same left nostril.
5. Practice basic diaphragmatic breathing (also called abdominal breathing) with your single nostril inhalations and exhalations.
6. Also, make sure your lips are pressed gently closed, tongue resting against the ridge of your upper teeth and palate.
7. Repeat these steps for anywhere from ten to 30 minutes per sitting. Five minutes of practice should do the trick!
Beyond helping you find mental clarity during a hectic day of mental chatter, this alternating nostril breathing is a technique that specifically promotes whole-brain development and hemispheric balance. When you breathe in through the left nostril, you are actually promoting right brain activity. Likewise, breathing in through the right nostril will activate the left hemisphere.
By alternating your breathing between left and right nostrils, you are building neural pathways through the corpus callosum (the junction point between the left and right hemispheres) in the brain.
Most of us use the right or left side more predominantly, so this quick exercise will help with well rounded brain work!
Did you try it? More energy? Tell me how great you feel in the comments.