Breathing may be a natural physical function that occurs without much thought, but the practice of pranayama, or controlled breathing, is a vital tool to support everyday wellness. When we experience an emotional shift, our breath changes in a spontaneous reaction.
Learning to harness this essential life force, however, offers us a path to regulate our physiological self back to harmony. Alternate nostril breathing, also known as nadi shodhana pranayama, is an effective method to manage Vata imbalances.
Types of Pranayama
Various types of pranayama are widely used to support healthy physiological functions. When a Dosha is out of balance, we immediately feel different. Pranayama addresses Doshic imbalances by balancing out excess energy.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
This breathing exercise is an effective tool to calm emotions like anxiety and fear associated with vata imbalances. It is a grounding, soothing breath that allows racing thoughts to simmer into a peaceful state.
For a boost of energy and renewed spirit, kapalbhati breath recharges the body and awakens the mind out of kapah-induced signs of lethargy, depression, and sluggish digestion.
Both cooling and calming, shitali breath pacifies pitta tendencies towards fiery emotions and irritability in the body by introducing a composed intake of physically cool air.
The Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing
When we experience a spike in Vata’s airy energy, the mind and body seek balance through grounding activities. Common Vata imbalances include emotional reactions like anxiety and fear, while the mind feels disorganized and unfocused. In the body, you may experience digestive challenges like gas, bloating, and constipation, as well as low endurance, dizziness, and fatigue.
By taking the time to control the breath through a repetitive, calming inhale and exhale exercise, the mind settles and feels less scattered while the body releases excess air and space energy. An ideal ritual to invoke any time you feel Vata symptoms flair, alternate nostril breathing is a powerful method of controlling chaotic feelings.
4 Steps of Alternate Nostril Breathing
- Sit up straight with eyes closed.
- Using the right hand, close off the left nostril with your ring finger. Slowly inhale through the right nostril, gently expanding the abdomen and then the lungs.
- Release the left nostril, and with your thumb, close off the right. Slowly exhale through the left nostril as you release the lungs and then the abdomen.
- Reverse these steps, inhaling on the left nostril and exhaling on the right
One full breath: in the right nostril and out the left, then in the left nostril and out the right.
Complete nine full breaths to complete this soothing pranayama.
Catching Your Breath
Understanding the methods to support controlled breathing opens essential doors for wellness. They require no money or special equipment, just your time. Practice pranayama as part of your daily self-care routine and experience the amazing benefits of a simple breath of air.
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