Alternate-Nostril Breathing

War in Ukraine:  Prayers for Peace

I tend not to write about political issues in my newsletters not because I am oblivious, but because I prefer to offer positive, alternative ways to stay centered and grounded, rather than getting swept away by tumultuous events.

But Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine is deeply unsettling. 

As I wrote the other day: “During this time of uncertainty and unpredictability, it is especially important to stay centered in your breath and remember who you truly are – a peaceful, gentle, strong, and wise being.”

So, I have enclosed a pranayama (breathing) technique below designed to calm nerves, relieve anxiety, and create a more peaceful and centered feeling.

Remember not to get overly concerned about “getting the pranayama technique right.” Instead focus more on the calming and soothing feelings of your breath, like the gentle ebb and flow of water lapping the shoreline. 

How to Practice Alternate-Nostril Breathing

You can practice this breathing technique for a short time with your eyes softly open or closed. 

If you want to try alternate-nostril breathing, here’s what to do:

  1. Sit quietly somewhere that you are warm.
  2. Bring your right hand up to your nose and move your forefinger and middle finger out of the way. Place your thumb on your right nostril.
  3. With your right nostril covered, inhale fully through the left nostril, pause, and exhale fully through your left nostril.
  4. Once you’ve exhaled completely, release your right nostril and put your ring finger on the left nostril.
    With your left nostril covered, inhale fully and slowly through the right nostril, pause, and exhale fully through your right nostril. 
  5.  Make sure your breath is smooth and continuous.
  6. Release your ring finger and close your right nostril with your thumb.
  7. Begin again and fully inhale through your left nostril, pause, and exhale fully from your left nostril.
  8. Repeat the full process two to seven times. 

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