Nadi Shodhana (Alternate-Nostril Breath)*

This breathing exercise can be practiced daily and/or during times when you feel anxious, stressed or exhausted. 


5 to 10 minutes or until you feel relaxed.


Sit comfortably on the floor with spine erect and eyes closed.

You can add a blanket around your waist to enhance groundedness and stability.


Close the right nostril gently with the right thumb. Slowly inhale up the left nostril. Close the left nostril with the ring finger and let your thumb go. Exhale down the right nostril and inhale back up the right nostril. Switch to exhale left. That’s one cycle.  

Pause and feel the effects of the practice. 

Repeat as many cycles as you can for at least 5 minutes or until you feel relaxed.

If your nose is congested or if you have a deviated septum, you can practice this breathing exercise by repeating cycles of inhalation and exhalation while visualizing the breath flowing gracefully from side to side.

Samavritti (Balancing Breath or Counting Breath)

This breathing exercise is helpful when you want your mind to slow down. Day or night, the steady rhythm of the breath helps to settle an overstimulated mind.   When the mind is spinning, counting the breath is one of the most effective ways to slow down. The steady rhythm of the count helps to settle the mind’s fluctuations (vrittis) and reestablish balance (sama). The most common practice is maintaining a one-to-one ratio—for example, inhaling and exhaling to the count of four. It’s natural to begin at a faster pace and gradually slow down as the mind begins to quiet. Feel free to layer on a soft Ujjayi pranayama (Ocean-Sounding Breath) to enhance focus and concentration.


2 to 5 minutes


Sit comfortably with eyes closed and palms on your lap.


Gently inhale on a count to 4 and exhale on a count to 4. Repeat the cycle for 2 to 5 minutes or until you feel mentally and physically settled.

At first you may breathe too fast for the count, don’t worry and continue to breathe until you are finally able to slow down to the count of 4.

Inhale smoothly as you count to four. Exhale smoothly as you count to four. As an alternative, you can lengthen the exhalations compared to the inhalations by, for example, inhaling to the count of four, and then exhaling to the count of six or eight. 

You can also layer this exercise with a soft Ujjayi pranayama (ocean sounding breath) for focus and concentration:

Ujjayi pranayama: Inhale and exhale deeply through your mouth, feeling the air passing through your windpipe.On your exhalations, slightly contract the back of your throat (as when whispering), letting out a soft whisper of the sound, “ahhh,” as you exhale (as if you were trying to fog up a window). Your breath will sound like an ocean wave.

                                Once you feel comfortable with your breathing,  keeping the same constriction in your throat, gently close your mouth and begin breathing only through your nose.. You will continue to hear the “ocean” sound as you breathe through your nose.

Sheetali (Cooling Breath)


1 to 3 minutes


Sit comfortably with your spine erect. Close your eyes and rest your upturned palms on your lap


Curl your tongue and draw in a long, refreshing breath, and then you exhale through the nose. During each exhalation, lightly touch the tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth, sending coolness toward the upper palate. 

Repeat this cycle for 1 to 3 minutes or until feeling mentally and physically refreshed. 

Alternatively, if you cannot curl your tongue, inhale through the teeth, with the lips parted, then exhale through the nose.



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