Alternate Nostril Breathing is thought to harmonize and balance the two hemispheres of the brain. Research has shown that it activates the “rest, digest and heal” part of the central nervous system and reduces blood pressure.
If you wake in the middle of the night with busy thoughts, it's a simple practice that helps to calm and relax the mind.
Here's how to do it:
1. Bring your awareness to the tip of your nose. Become aware of the two separate streams of air flowing in through the nostrils. Take several breaths this way.
2. Now notice the stream of air flowing in the left nostril. On the exhale, notice the stream of air flowing out through the right nostril.
3. On your next inhale, notice the stream of air flowing in the right nostril. On the exhale, notice the stream of air flowing out through the left nostril.
4. Continue with this pattern. Notice the air flowing in the left nostril, out the right. In the right, out the left.
5. If you like, you can add counting backwards to the awareness of your breath, starting at the number 54. "In the left, 54, out the right, 54. In the right, 53, out the left, 53. In the left, 52, out the right 52. In the right, 51, out the left, 51.
6. Continue until you get to "0" and start again from 54. If you get to 0, start again from 54. If you lose track, begin again at 54.
And now, I'd love to hear from you. Have you tried this practice as a sleep aid? Has it helped? Are there other practices that have helped you?
Please leave a comment in the box below!
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