Take a Break … and Breathe

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Woman of color meditating

Did you know that 70% of our body’s waste products are eliminated through our lungs? I thought that would get your attention. Yet another great reason to get serious about doing daily breath work. Pranayama is a simple way to focus on your breath and clean out your lungs. While there are many breathing techniques, alternate nostril breathing is an easy one you can use to either calm down or perk up, depending on which nostril is breathing in.

Breathing in through your left nostril is linked with the right (feeling) side of brain and has a calming, soothing effect. Breathing in through the right nostril is linked with the left (thinking) side of the brain, and has the effect of energizing and rejuvenating. When you alternate nostrils, everything seems to balance out. During that next 3pm slump, instead of caffeine, try this technique and I guarantee you will feel a greater sense of energy and focus. (Tip: If you have insomnia, close off your right nostril and breathe through your left and see if that helps.)

Here’s how to do it:

1. Use right thumb to close off right nostril

2. Inhale slowly through left nostril

3. Pause for a second

4. Now close left nostril with ring finger and release thumb off right nostril

5. Exhale through your right nostril

6. Inhale through right nostril

7. Pause

8. Use thumb to close of right nostril

9. Breathe out through left nostril

There — that’s one round. Try this for three rounds, then sit (with eyes closed) and enjoy the sensation. You can increase your rounds over time if desired.