Holding one nostril closed inhale and exhale slowly and deeply. Then hold the opposite nostril closed, inhale and exhale deeply. This breath is often done in preparation for deep relaxation or meditation. You will notice that usually one or the other of the nostrils is more open. If you breath on a small hand mirror, the patch of mist from one nostril will be larger than from the other. The ancient practitioners of Yoga in India were aware of the significance of this and employed this knowledge to enhance health and consciousness. Western science did not notice this phenomena until the 1800’s. It has been found recently, through the application of current neuro-science, that the practice of alternate nostril breathing helps to balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
- Health maintenance: 10 to 12 repetitions, 2 to 3 sessions per day.
- Health enhancement: 10 to 12 repetitions, 4 to 6 sessions per day.
- Disease intervention: Start slowly and build up to 15 to 20 repetitions, 8 to 10 sessions per day or up to even 100 repetitions in a single session.
- Getting started: 10 to 12 repetitions, once or twice per day. Notice that this method is very quieting.
Other columns provide specific instructions for the following breathing practices: