Our Weekly Tip: Practice Left Nostril Breathing to Calm a Grieving Body and Mind

Use the ancient science of Kundalini Yoga to reduce grief-related stress
Man demonstrates hand position for left nostril breathing

Credit: wikihow.com

Our Weekly Tip: Grief is mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually complex, but the way we take care of ourselves during this tender time doesn’t need to be. The ancient holistic science of Kundalini Yoga includes a left-nostril breathing technique called Chandra Bhedana that is simple to learn and easy to practice any time, anywhere you need to come back to your center in a calm and gentle way. Left-nostril breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, reducing the activity of the adrenal glands, effectively decreasing stress hormones in your blood. The result is a more deeply relaxed state of awareness while awake, a more restful sleep (especially when practiced in the evening) and the restoration of a healthy metabolism, which is often disrupted when the body experiences the emotional disruption of loss.

How-to Suggestion: Simply close the right nostril with your right thumb, or any other finger that is comfortable for you. Allow your eyes to softly close and draw your attention inward, releasing (just for this moment) any thoughts that may be running through your mind. Inhale to a count of four through the left nostril, hold the breath for a count of four, then exhale to a count of four. Keep the right nostril closed for the entire practice. Begin with 3 minutes of breathing, and increase the time as needed, up to 31 minutes. If it feels good and right for you, increase the length of inhalation, breath retention and exhalation. Remember that this practice has no goal but to help you relax, feel centered and at home in your body in the present moment. If you experience faintness or lightheadedness, practice loving-kindness with yourself and cease your practice until you regain a sense of being grounded.

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