Want less stress in your life? Try these simple techniques to relax and improve your attention and memory.
There’s a lot to be said for breathing. In fact, there is a lot said about breathing. How we take it for granted, how are not breathing properly, and tons of advice on how to breathe.
With every mindfulness class, app, and website that comes along there seems to be advice on breathing.
Adrenaline pumping through your system has a very real effect on how you breathe. As Emma Seppälä, the science director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University says, “We pump ourselves up; we drink too much caffeine; we overschedule ourselves; wait till the last minute to get things done and we depend on it.”
The problem however, is that when we live on adrenaline we exhaust our system and when you depend on that day in and day out your mind, body, attention, and memory become impaired from long-term chronic stress.
Here’s a video by Emma Seppälä on a simple trick to help you destress through a breathing technique that’s a little weird but very effective.
It’s important to note that this is not some new age trick that recently popped up in the 21st century along with all the hype about mindfulness. This is a Yoga technique that was developed many centuries ago called “Nadi Shodhan Pranayama” (nadi = subtle energy channel; shodhan = cleaning, purification; pranayama = breathing technique)
More information about this and a list of benefits are below:
Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhan Pranayama)
- Excellent breathing technique to calm and center the mind.
- Our mind has a tendency to keep regretting or glorifying the past and getting anxious about the future. Nadi Shodhan pranayama helps to bring the mind back to the present moment.
- Works therapeutically for most circulatory and respiratory problems.
- Releases accumulated stress in the mind and body effectively and helps relax.
- Helps harmonize the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which correlate to the logical and emotional sides of our personality.
- Helps purify and balance the subtle energy channels, thereby ensuring smooth flow of prana (life force) through the body.
- Maintains body temperature.
Points To Remember While Practicing Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhan Pranayama)
- Do not force the breathing, and keep the flow gentle and natural. Do not breathe from the mouth or make any sound while breathing. Also, do not use the Ujjayibreath.
- Place the fingers very lightly on the forehead and nose. There is no need to apply any pressure.
- In case you feel dull and are yawning after practicing Nadi Shodhan pranayama, check the time you take to inhale and exhale. Your exhalation should be longer than inhalation.