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  • Leslie Deems LAc.

Calming Breathing Practice


There are many different ways of encouraging rest and relaxation in the body. One of my favorites is the ancient pranayama yogic breathing exercise. This practice is said to balance the flow of energy in the body and meridians.

This alternate nostril breathing technique builds on itself. What this means is that over time the body will become increasingly more relaxed and non reactive to external stressors. The practice can actually shift the body from operating in a sympathetic response, or fight or fight response, to a parasympathetic, or rest and digest response. It is, essentially, a powerful regulator of the autonomic nervous system.

I recommend doing this exercise in a seated position, eyes closed, 1-2 times per day for 5 minutes at a time. The results will astound you and are well worth the time put in. For those of you starting, if you are having difficulty finding time to do this exercise, I recommend doing it while sitting in traffic. I also suggest taking a look at priorities. If you truly can not find 5 minutes in your day to nourish your heart, body and mind, your life may be seriously out of balance.

Key things to remember during this practice:

-You start and end on the left

-You begin by covering the right nostril, exhaling out the left nostril, inhaling through the left nostril, out through the right nostril, and in on the right nostril

-The hand position is such that you are covering your right nostril with your right thumb and using your right pinky to cover your left nostril

-the breathing alternates between left and right

-Set a timer so you know that you are sitting for the allotted 5 minutes

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