Ok, so if you happen to read this blog occasionally, or if we’re connected on Twitter or Facebook, you probably know that I talk about procrastination a lot. Here’s a technique I use when I need to center and focus my thoughts:
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Sounds complicated right? In reality, it’s an easy way to become more focused and alert, also to relieve stress or anxiety.
I first learned about alternate nostril breathing from a Conscious Breathing course I took. A year or so later, I came across it again in my yoga practice, this time called Nadi Shodhana.
Gay Hendricks, author of the book Conscious Breathing, points out that “the left side of the nose is connected to the right side of the brain, and vice versa. Breathing alternately through each nostril causes a shift from one hemisphere of the brain to the other.” This can create balance and quickly change your state of consciousness.
Alternate nostril breathing is performed by closing off one nostril at a time. You’ll want to begin on the out-breath. Close off one nostril, say the left, and breathe out, then back in through the right. Then close the right nostril and breath out and back in on the left, switching nostrils after each inhalation.
Hendricks suggests using your thumb and middle finger to close off each nostril while resting your index finger on your forehead. In Nadi Shodhana, a variation on the same concept, you curl your index and middle fingers toward your palm and use your thumb and ring finger to alternately close off each nostril.
Try it for two to five minutes and notice how you feel.