A Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercise
Want a diaphragmatic breathing exercise for energy, alertness and clear thinking? This brain exercise is not only calming and relaxing but easy to learn and takes only a few minutes of your time. It’s even helpful on headaches!
Alternate Nostril Breathing
As with all qigong/chi kung breathing exercises and meditations, Alternate Nostril Breathing is also a brain exercise, because it promotes the creation of neural pathways — good for brain health, intelligence, creativity and general cognitive ability.
It’s especially good for whole-brain functioning or whole-brain synchrony and hemispheric balance by thickening and strengthening the corpus callosum.
This corpus callosum is a broad thick band of brain tissue made of massive nerve fibers that acts as a bridge between the left and right hemispheres of your brain. It’s what allows your hemispheres to communicate in whole-brain thinking.
Most of us tend to be predominantly left- or right-brain thinkers, creating an imbalance in hemispheric brain activity and development. Want a healthy brain? You have to develop whole-brain health, which translates into hemispheric balance.
Alternate Nostril Breathing is a technique that specifically promotes whole-brain development and hemispheric balance. When you breathe in through the left nostril, you are actually promoting right brain activity. Likewise, breathing in through the right nostril will activate the left hemisphere.
By alternating your breathing between left and right nostrils, you are creating healthy brain development. This brain exercise will help with mental clarity and alertness, giving you energy and vitality.
Suffering from a headache? Breathe it away with this simple breathing exercise! This exercise, like all qigong/chi kung yogic breathing increases oxygen in the brain. Since our brain utilizes more than eighty percent of all the oxygen we breathe in, the best way to treat a headache is to feed the oxygen-starved brain.
And like all qigong/chi kung techniques, this one cleanses your body of toxins and contaminants and frees you of debilitating ailments that result from toxicity in your body. If you have a lot of toxicity in your body, practice this breathing exercise for short periods of time.
All qigong/chi kung exercises are very powerful in their effects, and this one is no different. You don’t want to overdo the exercise and suffer from too many toxins being released from your system at once.
Steps For Alternate Nostril Breathing
- Assume a meditation posture, (see Standing Postures, Sitting Postures and Lying Down or Recumbent Postures)
- Use your thumb and index finger to press down on one nostril as you alternate breathing through one nostril: Start with pressing down on the right nostril as you breathe in through the left nostril.
- Switch and press down on the left nostril as you breathe out through the right. Continue with an inhalation through the right nostril.
- Switch by pressing down once more on the right nostril as you breathe out through the left nostril. Then inhale again through the same left nostril.
- Practice basic diaphragmatic breathing (also called abdominal breathing) with your single nostril inhalations and exhalations.
- Also, make sure your lips are pressed gently closed, tongue resting against the ridge of your upper teeth and palate. (See Getting the Most Out of Qigong/Chi Kung).
- Repeat these steps for anywhere from ten to 30 minutes per sitting. If you are a beginner in qigong/chi kung or yogic breathing, or if you have a lot of toxicity in you, five minutes of practice should be enough.
That’s it — both a diaphragmatic breathing exercise and brain exercise in one, Alternate Nostril Breathing is a simple exercise to learn and practice every day with excellent benefits.
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