Meditative breathing exercises can be a simple addition to a whole-body, integrative health regimen that punches well above its weight in its stress-busting and immune system boosting potential.
One such exercise we’re particularly fond of here at Cleared is the following variation on the ancient practice of alternate breathing:
Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor with your back straight. Relax your body and breath naturally for three or four breaths while gradually bringing your mind’s attention towards the mechanics of your breathing, the process of inhalation and exhalation.
Gently rest the thumb of your dominant hand against the side of your right nostril while placing the tips of the index and middle finger of the same hand gently against your left nostril.
Close both your eyes, gently press your right thumb to close your right nostril and inhale slowly and deeply through only your left nostril.
At the peak of your inhalation, gently close your left nostril (with your index and middle finger), release closure of your right nostril and then exhale slowly through only your right nostril.
Upon reaching the bottom of your exhalation, inhale slowly and deeply through the right nostril, repeating the nostril opening and closing process in reverse to complete one full breathing cycle.
Repeat for three cycles, or for up to five minutes at a stretch. Then open your eyes and experience the world afresh, having taken an affirmative step towards reducing stress and strengthening your immune system!