A Peace & Cooling Breath Exercise

Summer's celebratory and freeing vibe comes along with traffic jams, ice cream cones leaking and staining our shorts plus our feet ache more than usual as they swell from the heat beyond our sandal's edges. When summer's heat and humidity is on, our body boils as well as our mood. Patience gets lost and before you know it you hit your horn and all kinds of words come flying out of your mouth. When any of this happens know you're not alone, it's a summer time thing.

Alternate nostril breathing, nadi shodhana in Sanskrit, is a key breath practice you can do any where to remedy stress. There's something about this breath exercise that acts as an instant dose of peace and calming. No joke, the last few traffic jams I was sitting in while the speedometer was fixed on zero, I saw my husband alternate nostril breathing away. Not a peep came from our horn or the cars around us.

Begin by sitting still in any comfortable position.

With your dominant hand, fold your pointer and middle finger in towards your palm, leaving your other fingers extended. This is called Vishnu mudra.

With your other hand touch the pointer finger and thumb together and let it rest palm down on your thigh. This hand position is called jnana mudra.

Vishnu mudra

Bring your dominant hand to your nose and block off the left nostril with the nearest available finger. Inhale through the right nostril.

Close block both nostrils for a second. Keep your eyes half open.

Release the finger blocking the left nostril and exhale. Inhale through the left nostril.

Close block both for a second.

Exhale right. Repeat the sequence by inhaling through the right nostril, close block both for a second, exhale left, inhale through the left nostril and so on...

Continue until your mind is completely fixed on your breath. After lingering for a few moments in being fully absorbed by your breath's movement finish by exhaling out through the left nostril. Release your dominant hand face down on your thigh, eyes half open looking forward and down about 6 feet in front of you and watch your natural breath. During the in between moments of watching the tidal quality of your natural breath feel how you've softened.

Sit in softness and notice how you can move from this space with clarity.

Note: Breath exercises are best learned in person from a qualified teacher. Use this post as notes to remember the how to do it yet be sure to seek your teacher's advise in the beginning stages of learning any breath exercises which is called pranayama in Sanskrit.

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