A 1 Minute Technique to Reduce Stress
nadi shodhana can be used at the beginning or end of your yoga practice, as a preparation for meditation or as a stand alone technique to quickly calm down in times of stress.
It’s a technique from the branch of yoga called Pranayama in Sanskrit, which translates to English as ‘Breath Control’.
Literally translated, Nadi Shodhana means ‘Alternate Nostril Breathing’.
Here’s how you do it
Find a comfortable seat. Sit cross legged on the floor, in a chair with both feet on the ground, or in the bathroom cubicle with the lid down if it’s a really hard day. Sit up tall and let your shoulders relax
Close your eyes and place the ‘peace fingers’ (your index and middle finger) of your right hand in-between your eyebrows
Exhale all the breath out of your nose, then press your right thumb to the outside of your right nostril and seal it closed
Take a deep inhale through your left nostril
When you reach the top of the breath, press your right ring finger on the outside of your left nostril and seal it closed
Release your thumb from your right nostril, then exhale all the air out of your right nostril
Inhale deeply back through the right nostril
When you reach the top of the breath, place the thumb back on your right nostril to seal it off
Release your index finger from your left nostril, then exhale all the breath out of the left nostril
Inhale through the left side, close the left nostril, release the thumb, exhale through the right
Inhale through the right, close the right nostril, release the ring finger, exhale through the left
Once you find a rhythm, repeat in your mind, in right, out left, in left, out right until it’s no longer needed, or until someone has come looking for you in the bathroom cubicle.
You’ll feel the calming effects of this breath technique in less than 1 minute, but you can practice for up to ten minutes or more.
By balancing the breath to both sides of the brain, this technique soothes the nervous system to a state of centred calm.
And who doesn’t want a bit of centred calm in their day?