How to Release Anxiety Fast with Alternate Nostril Breathing

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I have a very easy and beautiful breathing technique to share with you called alternate nostril breathing.

Alternate nostril breathing is a meditation practice that is easy to master, so it’s great whether you are a total beginner or an advanced yogi.

What is alternate nostril breathing?

The Sanskrit term for this practice is Nadi Shodhana. Nadi means “channel” or “flow” and shodhana means “purification.” Nadi Shodhana is a type of pranayama. Pranayama practices are yogic breathing exercises. With this simple technique you use the flow of your breath to clear your mind and calm your nervous system.

Tweet: Alternate nostril breathing is a simple practice that releases anxiety and clears your mind fast. @gabbybernstein #spiritjunkie

I practice alternate nostril breathing all throughout the day to stay grounded and connected to peace. You can also try this technique when you’re feeling especially stressed or on edge, like before a big meeting.

Just one minute of practicing alternate nostril breathing can calm you down, release anxiety and revitalize your energy. It melts stress and clears your mind! The benefits really are incredible, and you will feel them right away.

Alternate nostril breathing works fast

One thing I really love about alternate nostril breathing is that you can feel the effects so quickly. Having a bunch of tools in your toolbox to help you release fear, shift your mood and change your perspective within a couple of minutes means you can get back into alignment fast!

In the video below, I lead you through a guided session of alternate nostril breathing. (Below the video I explain how it works.) This is a Facebook Live that I hosted, and it was so popular that I knew I had to share it here on the blog.

Guided alternate nostril breathing practice

Press play and join me for this meditative practice.

Before you begin the practice of alternate nostril breathing, first take a few yogic breaths in your nose and out your mouth.

Let your diaphragm naturally expand on the inhale and relax on the exhale. (You can place your hand on your stomach to feel this.)

After a few of these breaths, begin alternate nostril breathing.

How to practice alternate nostril breathing

You use the thumb and ring finger of one hand (usually your dominant hand) to gently block off each nostril so you are inhaling and exhaling through one nostril at a time.

Throughout this practice you inhale and exhale through your nose only.

Begin by gently blocking your right nostril.

Inhale through your left nostril.

Hold your breath as you close off your left nostril.

Exhale through your right nostril.

Inhale through your right nostril.

Seal the right nostril.

Exhale through the left nostril.

Inhale through the left nostril.

Seal the left nostril.

Exhale through the right nostril.

Repeat this pattern (check the video if you forget the rhythm) for one or two minutes, or longer.

You can use this anytime you notice yourself feeling stressed, overwhelmed or just want a refresher. You can do it before bed to calm down before you sleep. It can relieve a headache, relax that tightness in your stomach and even prevent a panic attack.

You can also use this breath practice to prepare for a deeper meditation.

Keep practicing

gabby bernstein judgment detox bookIf practicing alternate nostril breathing for one or two minutes actually revs up your anxiety, just practice it for a few more minutes. Sometimes connecting to the breath can be unnerving at first, especially if it’s new to you. Let yourself inhale and exhale in a natural way. You don’t need to take super-deep breaths. Just relax, take it easy and keep practicing alternate nostril breathing.

By the way: In the video I talk about Judgment Detox and the free manifesting workshop I hosted. You can watch this workshop free (and get lifetime access to it) when you order Judgment Detox!

Share this post and video with anyone who needs it!

I hope this practice of alternate nostril breathing serves you greatly. Leave a comment and let me know how the experience went for you!

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  1. Thank you sooo much for this AMAZING experience not just a breathing method this has calmed my jaw clenching and my very bad nervousness and gives me the ability to genuinely relax thank you and God bless you and what you do

    1. You’re welcome, Harriette. I’m so grateful that this practice is serving you and that you are able to reduce your anxiety! What a miraculous shift! xoxo

  2. I like the way you teach. I have been struggling a lot more and more from Kundalini energy trying to learn to calm it a bit. Thank you Gabby and I am open to suggestions

  3. My sister highly recommended that I start enlightening my mind with your Light Work. My life has been buried in chaos and busyness. My #1 priority has been my 2 daughters. I’m a single Mother and have hit the ripe age of 45. My children are grown & need me less. I painfully hit a place in my life where I feel STUCK. Uninspired, hopeless (old) and without direction. I started listening to your interviews and reading your masterful work and I have to THANK YOU for opening my eyes and heart to a much needed pathway of healing that I have pushed aside for far too long.

  4. I already knew about this form of yogic breathing – but it’s great that you’ve highlighted it.

    Today I had a tooth extracted and was in despair due to the pain afterwards. Then I remembered this breathing and started doing it immediately. To my amazement the pain has reduced to a tiny fraction of what it had been.

    This is really a form of meditation, and very accessible as it is non religious, so capable of helping many people. Thank you.

  5. This is absolutely amazing.. This completely just chilled me out into a calm, peaceful state.. Wow.. I cant even believe it just brought me to a calm, peaceful happy level, and place. Thank you for this!!!

  6. Hi Gabby,
    I kind of ended up here yesterday by accident…or maybe I was guided I don’t know.
    I did the alternate nostril meditation and I had tears in my eyes when I finished. On the strength of that I have ordered your latest book (Judgement Detox) and am now working through the video which that gave me access to.
    Looking to take the handbrake off and release the limiting beliefs.
    Thank you.

    1. This is beautiful, thank you for sharing. I know this book will serve you. Take your time with it. And you can use alternate nostril breathing anytime. It’s a wonderful tool.

  7. Thank you so much Gabby.
    I found this by accident via twitter. I did the exercise and had a few tears in my eyes by the end.
    I’m going to buy the book. Releasing the limiting beliefs is exactly what I need.

    I think it’s a beautiful thing that you have shared this for free.

  8. You have been such a blessing in my life this is just what I needed! Thank you for the work that you do, it’s people like you that are keeping all of us sane in these anxiety ridden times! Stay golden 🙂 xo

  9. My daughter just sent this to me. I suffer from severe anxiety. I mean severe. I see a psychiatrist and heis helping. I am trying to eliminate medication. Most make me more anxious. Just to tell you how bad, I wake up drenched in sweat, I hear voices, I see things that aren’t there, I shake and have spasms. This is not who I am or I should say was. I’m a completely different person. It started in 2006 after a abusive situation and it gets worse by the day. I’m in pain, my teeth even hurt. I tried a different breathing technique and didn’t find it helpful. I’m not sure, but doing this with you for 2 minutes I felt pretty good. I will continue to do it. Thank you! I have an amazing daughter that is always looking for things to help me. I usually think I will be like this’s paralyzing and has ruined my life. Most people don’t understand. I guess that’s all I have to say. I will look up your book. You are so nice and beautiful. THANK YOU!!

    1. I want you to know that I am holding you in my prayers during this difficult time and I am so happy to know that this is bringing you some relief. Even a bit of relief is a miracle. You may be suffering from post-traumatic stress – is this something your doctor has brought up with you? I am not a doctor, of course, and cannot give medical advice, but one modality that has helped me tremendously in healing PTSD is EMDR. Check out this website to find a clinician near you. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and you will heal. Check out The Universe Has Your Back. I think it will resonate with you and serve you greatly. Much love and light to you.

  10. Thank you for this Gabby, I needed this today! Just worked a long flight to Texas and I am tense and exhausted. Also been in my head a lot lately trying to shift a lot of negative thoughts. Your meditations and audio help me every day Xxxx Love and Peace Kat xxxX

  11. I learned this practice today in a coaching seminar AND it showed up in an email from you. I will take this as a “God Wink” and use this practice daily.
    Many Thanks!

  12. What a great meditation… I just tried this and I got instant calm and it has stayed with me (very important). After an hour of sterilisation and preparation I just wasted 2L of expensive organic milk by not realising the cold water bath should be shallower than the sides of the hot milk saucepan I’m trying to cool down (hellooo!!) Sad face. Love this meditation, I can see I will be using this again and again! Thanks Gabby

  13. Your post just reinforced that I should start doing Nadi shodhana. Thank you, hope I get a great teacher the guide me in my path.. my anxiety levels are off the charts nowadays

  14. Hi Gabby, I’ve been following you for a few years and love your work. Yesterday I published two classes using this breath pattern combined with sutras. These sutras are particularly for developing mediumship, intuitive abilities and psychic work. They only take 5 minutes a day and totally heighten and clarify these healing gifts. I’m a certified medium and minister. I taught along with my husband for 7 years. I’ve been working doing readings for 29 years now professionally. I see you’re doing more to help people develop their intuition lately so I thought you might want to check it out. I don’t believe in coincidence, I think there is a reason we are both doing this at the same time. If this can help you in your work feel free to contact me. Keep Up The Wonderful Work! Frankie

  15. I have asthma and it was a little difficult to breath in and out through my left nostril. I had to breath through my mouth a few times. I did feel better after. Is that ok??

    1. You can adjust this practice in whatever way works for your abilities. It is 100% okay. What matters is that you slowed down, paid attention to your breath and felt better. xoxo

  16. Thank you. I just did the breathing with you and feel more peaceful.
    I often thank the Universe for you and your teachings .

  17. Thank you so much Gabby! You’re my angel! I’m taking care of my mom who is dying of cancer and it’s so difficult to see her changing and getting worse in front of our eyes. I am so stressed out and I can barely breathe. I opened my email this morning and there you were with this special meditation. I did it and I felt better. I will continue to do this throughout the days. Thank you so much. All my love!

    1. Katia I am holding you and your mom in my prayers during this incredibly difficult time. Use this practice to ground yourself and find more peace and calm. Even a moment of peace is a miracle. She will feel your shift in energy, too. Sending you both love and light. Thank you for sharing. xo

  18. Thank you so much Gabby. You’re an angel. My mom is dying of cancer and I’m taking care of her and it’s so difficult to see her changing and getting worse in front of our eyes. I am so stressed. I can barely breathe. This morning you were in my mailbox and I just did your meditation and it helped me instantly. I will do this many times daily. All my love.

  19. This is the first time I have tuned in to you. I enjoyed the alternate breathing through the nostrils. I am a life student or a course in miracles and this will help me prepare for the acim lessons..Thank you Gabby.Love and blessings Namaste

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