Alternate Nostril Breathing
Anulom Vilom Pranayama
As we shift our energy into fall, it is important that we prepare and nurture the immune system so that it can combat the illnesses that may come our way.This breathing exercise calms the mind and body, and it can reduce heart rate, lower blood pressure, and alleviate headaches and cold/flu symptoms.
To practice alternate nostril breathing, first find a comfortable seat, preferably on the ground, with legs crossed and spine straight.
Using the right hand, begin to fold the peace fingers (index and middle) into the palm, leaving the thumb, ring and pinky fingers extended. Bring this hand to your face, block the right nostril with your thumb, and inhale deeply. Hold the breath, release the thumb from covering the right nostril, cover the left nostril with the outstretched ring and pinky fingers, and exhale. Keeping the left nostril covered, inhale and hold the breath. Release the left nostril, begin to cover the right one once more with the thumb, and exhale.
Once you have set a rhythm, start to slow and lengthen the breath so that each inhalation and exhalation lasts for four counts each. For maximum benefit, repeat at least three times, rest, and repeat again, starting by covering the left nostril.
If the right arm begins to get tired, place the left palm under the right elbow for additional support.