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Alternate Nostril Breathing (Pranayama)

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You will be breathing through alternate nostrils.  Do not force your breath.  Breathe in a comfortable way, not too fast or too slow.  Find out what works for you.  The first few times you do this, keep your attention on your breath and just breathe naturally.  Once you get used to this, deepen and lengthen your breath, taking longer to complete each cycle. You don’t have to close your eyes, but it can help you feel calmer more quickly.

Hand position

1.  Hold the fingers of your right hand in front of your face. 2. Fold in your first and second fingers so they touch your palm. 3. The thumb goes above your right nostril, and your ring finger above the left nostril.  These two digits will     control the flow of breath in your nostrils by alternately pressing on one nostril to block the flow of breath,     and then the other. 4. You can support your right elbow with your left hand, being careful not to restrict the movement of the chest and abdomen.

The breathing technique

1. Gently close your right nostril with your thumb and breathe     in through your left nostril. Your lungs are now full. 2. Gently close your left nostril with your ring finger, release your thumb,     and breathe out through your right nostril.  Your lungs are now empty. 3. Keeping the same position, breathe in through your right nostril.      Your lungs are now full again. 4. Close your right nostril with the thumb, release the ring finger    and breathe out through your left nostril.     Your lungs are now empty again. This completes one cycle.  Repeat this alternate nostril breathing for several minutes, building up gradually to a maximum of ten minutes, twice a day.  The schedule suggested in the program is just a proposal.  If you find that three minutes at a time is the most you feel comfortable with, that is OK.

Alternate nostril breathing promotes health and balance by oxygenating both sides

of the brain equally. This technique increases energy, sharpens thinking, reduces

stress, improves sleep, and enhances relaxation. If practiced regularly, it can

improve immunity and create general feelings of revitalization and inner harmony.

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