A+ A A-

Ancient Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique Provides Instant Drug-Free Anxiety Relief

nostril-breathing

According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, anxiety is now the most commonly diagnosed mental illness in the country. A UCLA survey published in 2001, though, indicates that less than 25 percent of all anxiety sufferers receive treatment for this affliction, which affects approximately 19 million people.

The most common forms of anxiety, in order of prevalence, are:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which is characterized by unnecessary worry and catastrophizing;
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, the inability to control unwanted thoughts or behaviors;
  • Panic Disorder, episodes of intense fear that surface without warning and may result in physical symptoms such as abdominal distress and heart palpitations;
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which manifests as fear that persists long after the experience of a traumatic event;

At the core of most anxiety attacks, though, is the breath, or the lack of it. When you are anxious, natural breathing is inhibited. The diaphragm freezes, failing to move air downward as you inhale, which means that you do not let your lungs fully expand and fill with air.

“And when you do not get enough oxygen, the brain receives a ‘danger’ signal, which perpetuates your mind-body state of anxiety,” explains Jonathan Davidson, M.D., director of the Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Program at Duke University Medical Center. “Your breathing quickens and becomes, even more, shallow; in an extreme case this can lead to a full-blown panic attack, in which the person begins to hyperventilate.”

The Ancient, Anti-Drug Solution

The word pranayama has two subset meanings: “prana” means vital life force energy and  “ayama” means control of breath.

Traditionally, yogis have emphasized the practice of pranayama over that of asana (poses). Pranayama is one of the eight limbs of yoga and emphasizes using the mind to control the breath and the universal energy that unites us and also feeds our souls.

Your nose is directly linked to your brain and nervous system. For thousands of years, the Indian yogis believe that many diseases are connected to disturbed nasal breathing. They believe that we can regulate our body and mind by using pranayama practices that slow and deepen our breath.

alternate nostril breathing

Alternate nostril breathing (otherwise known as Nadi Shodhana) is especially wonderful for anxiety because it is said to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain and calm the nerves.

One study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (May 17, 2000), coming out of Boston University’s Center for Anxiety Related Disorders, found that slow diaphragmatic breathing proved just as effective in reducing anxiety as the antidepressant drug imipramine!

Here are more reasons why you should practice this pranayama in moments of panic:

  1. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which shifts you out of the ‘fight or flight’ stress response towards relaxation.
  2. It enhances respiratory functions: increases respiratory strength and endurance, which is normally one of the first things to go when panic strikes.
  3. It improves attention and fine-motor coordination/performance: to get you out of your head and back into your body and the present moment.

As a bonus, the practice of pranayama primes the organs for proper digestion and elimination. It is best done in the mornings before your first meal but can also be done throughout the day as needed.

How to Practice Alternate Nostril Breathing:

  1. Find a quite place and sit in any comfortable seated position. Relax the body and breath naturally for a few moments, allowing your mind and body to settle.
  2. Rest your left hand on your lap or knee.
  3. Make a “peace sign” with your right hand. Fold the two extended fingers toward the palm. Place your thumb gently on your right nostril and your ring gently onto your left nostril.
  4. Close your eyes and begin by softly closing your right nostril (using your right thumb) and inhale slowly, deeply, smoothly, gently and without strain through your left nostril.
  5. Close your left nostril (using your ring finger) and open your right. Exhale through your right nostril then inhale through your right nostril.
  6. Close your right nostril and release left. Exhale through your left nostril.
  7. This completes one round but continue going for as long as you’d like. I suggest 3-5 minutes to really feel the calming effects.
  8. When you are finished: relax both arms at your sides, sit and breathe naturally for a few moments before opening your eyes and getting on with your day.

You can also add in a 4 count breath hold in between sides. So for example: inhale left, Close both nostrils and hold breath in for 4 then exhale through the right. Continuing like that, side to side.

Alternate nostril breathing is one of the best tools that you have with you wherever you are. When you feel your mind spinning out of control, excuse yourself from whatever you are doing, find a quiet place and take a moment to reconnect with yourself.

Please Note: Anxiety is something that so many of us suffer silently from, while pranayama can help at the moment and even, in the long run, it is not a suitable replacement for professional help or medication as directed by your doctor.


Credit: davidwolfe.com

Sources

gillian-brown

Live the BEST LIFE EVER. Connect with me on InstagramTwitterFacebook and my blog.

CrystalWind.ca is free to access and use.
Please donate a small gift of $11.11 or $22.22 or $33.33. 
Thank you! 
ॐ Namasté - Blessings!
"Life is an echo, what you send out comes back."

© 2008-2020 crystalwind.ca. All rights reserved.

  Please buy us a coffee!
 
 
Pin It

Featured Writers

Disclaimer

All post and information provided within this blog is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not to be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken solely on the contents of this website.  Please consult with your healthcare professional before making any dietary or lifestyle changes or taking supplements that may interfere with medications. Any products or information discussed are not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any illness, disease or lifestyle. Please consult your physician or a qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health and wellbeing or on any opinions expressed within this website.

Featured This Month

Page:

Libra Mythology

Libra Mythology

It's truly impossible to talk about Libra mythology without also referencing... Read more

Birth Totem - Raven or Crow

Birth Totem - Raven or Crow

Birth dates: September 22 - October 22 Birth Totem is: Raven/Crow Clan ... Read more

Ducks Fly Moon

Ducks Fly Moon

Raven - Bloodstone Jasper - Mullein - Brown September 23 to October 23 The D... Read more

Libra’s Featured Stone - Kyanite

Libra’s Featured Stone - Kyanite

Kyanite Birthstone: Libra Planet: Venus Element: Air Chakra: Throat Read more

Samhain - Halloween

Samhain - Halloween

Samhain is one of the greater Sabbats of the Witches’ calendar and in the No... Read more

Sun in Libra

Sun in Libra

An Overview of Sun Sign Characteristics for Libra The ruler of Libra is Ven... Read more

Ametrine

Ametrine

The Stone for Clearing and Change Ametrine is one of the rarest and most va... Read more

Mullein

Mullein

Helps you feel courageous and adventurous. Gender: Feminine Planet: Saturn Ele... Read more

Bats - Myths, Folklore and Facts

Bats - Myths, Folklore and Facts

Bats “Suspicions amongst thoughts are like bats amongst birds, they ever ... Read more

Samhain Lore

Samhain Lore

The symbolism of this Sabbat is that of The Third (and final) Harvest, it ma... Read more

Crystals and Stones for Halloween

Crystals and Stones for Halloween

Halloween is one of the most fun, spooky, mysterious and frightening times o... Read more

Samhain by The Hedgewitch

Samhain by The Hedgewitch

Blessed Samhain Samhain marks one of the two great doorways of the year, fo... Read more

Libra

Libra

Sept 23 - Oct 22 Spirit: To operate judiciously Ego: Strategist, peace see... Read more

12 White Witch Spells For Autumn

12 White Witch Spells For Autumn

Add these 12 essential spells to your arsenal of magic, thanks to Tu... Read more

Lepidolite

Lepidolite

The Mental Balancer Stone Lepidolite contains lithium and is helpful for st... Read more

© 2008-2020 CrystalWind.ca. Site Creation by CreativeInceptions.com.
X

Right Click

No right click