An interesting fact about your nostrils is that you don’t breathe through them equally all the time. Right now, you will be favouring either your left nostril or your right nostril. This is simply an exercise in doing so consciously and mindfully. It sounds a bit weird, I know, but this can actually be a really helpful mindfulness exercise!

Alternate nostril breathing mp3


Sit with your back straight and gently seal your lips. Rest your left hand on your left thigh, palm facing upward. Take your right hand in front of you with palm facing you. Put your index finger and middle finger together and take these fingers to your eyebrow centre.

Take some gentle normal breaths in this position. Relax your shoulders.

You are going to use your right thumb to close your right nostril, and either your right ring or little finger to close your left nostril.

Start by closing your left nostril with your ring or little finger. Inhale through your right nostril and exhale through your right nostril. Repeat five times.

Then release your left nostril and close your right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale and exhale gently, five times. Don’t force your breath and if you need to take a break and breathe through both nostrils, then do so. This exercise should feel refreshing and balancing – not like hard work.

The next step is alternating the breath between nostrils. So close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through your left nostril. Close your left nostril with your ring or little finger. Lift your thumb and exhale through your right nostril. Then inhale through the same nostril. Close your right nostril with your thumb and lift your finger to exhale through your left nostril. This is one round. Repeat 3 – 5 rounds. You can build up the rounds done when you have practiced this exercise and become confident.

When you have completed your rounds, rest with your hands on your thighs, palms upward, taking normal natural breaths through both nostrils and being mindful of any subtle changes in your energy, your mind, your balance.

Please feel free to download the MP3 for your own personal use.

Exercise 12: Alternate nostril breathing


Other mindfulness exercises


Get the mobile version

The mindfulness exercises are one of the features available in the free Living Well App for iPhone and Android. Be mindful anywhere, anytime.


1 comment

  1. Comment by Gabrielle

    Gabrielle Reply September 23, 2016 at 1:01 am

    Why is there no mention of the source of this practice which is from yoga. Also it is helpful prior to commencing the practice to observe the natural breath rhythm and state of mind in order to notice the effects on these following the practice.

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