Alternating Breathing Techniques: Understand and Do it Correctly

There are many breathing methods when exercising or when you want to relax. Among them can not ignore the technique of alternately breathing through the nose.

Alternating nose breathing is a form of breath control in yoga. In Sanskrit it is called nadi shodhana pranayama. This translates as the energy clearing breathing technique. This type of breathing can be done as part of a yoga or meditation process. It can be done to calm your mind. Let’s learn more about this type of breathing in the article below.

Great benefits of alternate breathing

Alternating nasal breathing techniques can help:

  • Relax your body and mind
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Promotes overall health

These benefits can help you be more focused and aware. You can use this technique to manage stress. It also helps you to be more alert in the present moment.

Reduce stress and improve cardiovascular system function

One of the main effects of alternate nostril breathing is to reduce stress. A 2013 study found that people who practice alternate nostril breathing have positive changes in cardiovascular system function. It is demonstrated by lowering heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure.

Improves lung function and endurance of the respiratory system

A 2017 study looked at the effects of pranayama on the lung function of swimmers and found it had a beneficial effect on the respiratory system. Enhanced respiratory endurance also improves athletic performance.

Lower heart rate

According to a 2006 study, performing slow yogic breathing such as the alternate nostril breathing technique reduced heart rate and average breathing rate. Lowering your heart rate can help improve the health of your cardiovascular system.

Improve health

Overall, this breathing technique helps promote overall health, especially reducing stress and anxiety. A 2011 study found that a routine of alternate breathing techniques has a beneficial effect on physical and physiological health.

Alternating breathing techniques to help you relaxAlternating breathing techniques to help you relax

Is this technique safe?

Performing the alternate nasal breathing technique is safe for most people. Talk to your doctor before starting your practice if you have certain problems like asthma, COPD, or any other heart or lung related problem.

If you feel no side effects such as shortness of breath, you should stop immediately. You may feel lightheaded, dizzy, or nauseous.

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If you find that breathing gives you a feeling of agitation or any other mental or physical symptoms, stop and rest.

If you have trouble breathing, talk to your doctor before exercisingIf you have trouble breathing, talk to your doctor before exercising


You can practice alternate nostril breathing on your own, but you can ask your yoga teacher to show you how to do it to make sure you’re doing it right.

Focus on keeping your breathing slow, smooth, and continuous. This helps you know where you are in the cycle. You can breathe easily during the exercise.

Instructions on how to alternately breathe through the nose:

  • Sit in a comfortable position with your legs crossed
  • Place your left hand on your left knee
  • Raise your right hand to your nose
  • Exhale completely and then use right thumb to close right nostril
  • Inhale through the left nostril and then close the left nostril with your finger
  • Open the right nostril and exhale through that side
  • Open the left nostril and exhale
  • Completed once
  • Continue doing for about 5 minutes
  • Always complete the breathing technique by exhaling through the left nostril.

alternate breathing technique

When to perform nose breathing?

You can do alternate nostril breathing anytime and anywhere you feel comfortable. It can be used when you need to focus or relax.

This technique should be practiced on an empty stomach. Don’t practice alternate breathing when you’re sick or congested.

Alternating nose breathing can be done before or after yoga practice. Find a time that works best for you as everyone will have different results and experiences. Many people use this technique at the beginning of their meditation because it deepens the meditation process.

Alternating nose breathing can help you relax and clear your mind. Paying more attention to your breath also makes you pay attention to other parts of your life. Although this technique promises many benefits, you need to practice hard to experience the results.

Reference source

What Are the Benefits and Risks of Alternate Nostril Breathing? Access date: October 18, 2020

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