Alternate Nostril Breathing chosen by Gentle Marvin
I love this practice because it calms my mind and prepares me to practice asana in a more meditative way. It also represents for me the spiritual aspect of yoga and helps me to begin to experience the extraordinary sense of elevation and peace that Yoga has to offer. It's benefits include clarity of thought, increased vitality and lower levels of stress. Most importantly, it helps to purify the nervous system and circulate the life energy throughout the body. Practice early morning, before going to sleep, before asana, or anytime you want to recharge or de-stress. It's effect is irresistible.
Use the right hand only, and start by folding down the first and second fingers. You will be using the thumb to block the right nostril and the ring finger to block the left nostril (see above photo). Start by exhaling out both nostrils and empty the lungs. Then block right nostril with thumb and inhale only through the left nostril for FOUR COUNTS. Then close left nostril with the ring finger, so that both sides are closed and hold the breath for TWO COUNTS. Release the thumb and exhale only out of the right nostril for FOUR COUNTS. Keep fingers the same and inhale through the right side for FOUR COUNTS. Bring thumb to right nostril, so that both sides are closed and hold the breath for TWO COUNTS. Release the ring finger and exhale out the left side for FOUR COUNTS. This is one complete round. Do as many rounds as feels comfortable, always ending by exhaling out through the left nostril.