Pranayama – Conscious Breathing

Breathing consciously is a powerful act. You only need to close your eyes and take a few slow, deep breaths to feel refreshed and calmer, and this is not some hippy, dippy phenomena. Within moments of slow, controlled breathing, each lasting ten seconds, studies have proven we can bring our bodies back into a state of psychophysiological coherence, which means balance, harmony and synchronisation within and between cognitive, emotional and physiological processes. It’s a valuable thing to actualise, and empowering to remember, that we can consciously bring our bodies into a place of rest and digest, and out of a place of fight or flight, and in every moment of everyday, this is literally only a breath away.

Nadi Shodhana – Alternate Nostril Breathing


Alternate Nostril Breathing is for Everyone – beginner to advanced – and is easy to do.

Sit in a comfortable seated position

Rest your left hand on your lap or knee

Bring your right hand forward with palm raised in front of your face

Let your elbow rest down towards your chest

Bring your cupped palm to face your nose

Allow your 4th and 5th finger to come in front of your left nostril

Thumb in front of right nostril

2nd and 3rd fingers can be resting on your palm or resting on 3rd eye

Close your eyes and begin by breathing gently and slowly

Softly close your right nostril with thumb and inhale gently through your left nostril

After a count of four, close left nostril with 4th and 5th finger

Exhale gently for 4 counts from the right nostril

Inhale gently for 4 counts through the right nostril

Close right nostril gently with thumb and release 4th and 5th finger exhaling gently through left nostril

This is one round

Continue for a few minutes.

You can build upon this time and work up to 20 minutes a day. Twenty minutes a day cleanses the whole nervous system when practiced for 40 consecutive days.

When you have finished, relax both arms, sit and breathe naturally for a few moments before opening your eyes.

Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing

Revitalises you

Improves brain function

Cleanses the lungs

Calms an agitated mind

Merges the left ‘thinking’ brain and the right ‘feeling’ brain

Encourages a calmer emotional state

Improves sleep

Great preparation for meditation

Soothes nervous system

Regulated the cooling and warming cycles of the body

Clears and boosts your energy channels

Enhances rest and relaxation

At YogaHealingGlasgow we bring alternate nostril breathing into our classes sometimes after relaxation, and you can learn more about other breathing exercises in our pranayama classes.

By Anthea Simpson