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.

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