Conscious breathing exercises, or pranayama are an important part of yoga and they are a key part of the practice. Breath is particularly important when you are experiencing stress or anxiety. In the West, diaphragmatic breath is most commonly associated with yoga breathing techniques. However, new scientific research is beginning to shed light on other Pranayama techniques and their benefits.
Breathing consciously is a powerful act. The process of breathing sits directly at the interface of our voluntary nervous system (aspects of our physiology under our conscious control) and our autonomic nervous system (aspects generally not under conscious control). It’s a direct path for us to communicate quickly to the brain through what we experience in our body. It also offers a direct link for balancing the sympathetic (fight-or-flight) and parasympathetic (rest-and-relax) branches of the nervous system.
Alternate Nostril breathing is an amazing breathing technique that helps keep the mind calm, happy and peaceful. It helps release accumulated tension and fatigue. It also helps clear out blocked energy channels in the body, which in turn calms the mind. It is also known as Anulom Vilom pranayama.
nadi = subtle energy channel; shodhan = cleaning, purification; pranayama = breathing technique
Nadi shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing, has a long history in Ayurvedicmedicine and yoga, where it’s thought to harmonize the two hemispheres of thebrain, resulting in a balance of the physical, mental and emotional well-being. While science is just starting to explore what might be going on in terms of hemispheric functioning during this practice, recent studies have confirmed somepretty powerful effects of this practice.
So here are ten good reasons for practicing this Alternate Nostril Pranayama: