Alternate Breathing

According to yoga, there are thousands of energy channels in the human body. The flow and openness in these are of significance for the condition we are in throughout the day and night. Many of the energy channels are of minor significance, whilst others are of decisive importance for mind and body. Two of the most vital energy channels run parallel to the spine up to the middle of the head. They dominate alternately and determine (regulate) which half of the brain is most active. By examining which nostril is most open, you will simultaneously find out which half of the brain is currently dominant. Occasionally, there will be a condition of balance, and both nostrils will be equally open and free. And then you may feel particularly alert, relaxed and inspired.

The breath constitutes a connection between the body and its underlying energy. Through the breath, we can open and stimulate energy flows in the body. The “Alternate Breathing” is a yoga breathing exercise which serves to balance the energy in, and thereby the relation between, the halves of the brain.

If you have the opportunity, you can try the exercise right now. You should, however, wait a while after a meal. Sit with your back straight, and give yourself time to become completely relaxed. Place the index and middle finger of your right hand on your brow between your eyes, such that you can close your right nostril with the thumb and your left nostril with your 
the ring finger.

Begin by closing your right nostril with your thumb, and inhale slowly through the left nostril. Inhale completely. Then close your left nostril with the ring finger, and breath out slowly through the right nostril. Breathe out completely. Breathe in once again through the right nostril, and out again through the left. This is one cycle: in through the left nostril, out through the right, in through the right and out through the left. You may do up to 25 cycles. Breathe as deeply and as slowly as you can, calmly and evenly and without strain.

Yoga breathing exercises prepare the mind for meditation and are a harmonic and safe way of coming into contact with your inner calm and clarity.