Usually when you're stressed and tired the things you want to focus on are getting more sleep (long term) or knocking back a coffee (short term).
But an ancient breathing technique might be the simple way to de-stress and relax in as quickly as five minutes.
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This breathing exercise is called Nadi Shodhana, and it's usually referred to as alternate nostril breathing. It's a powerful technique that can help you relax the mind, calm the nervous system, and clear your nasal circulation.
According to relaxation expert Dr. Paula Watkins, Nadi Shodhana has three main benefits:
- It activates the parasympathetic nervous system and reduces blood pressure.
- It enhances respiratory functions: increases respiratory strength and endurance.
- It improves attention and fine-motor coordination/performance.
"[It] has a long history in Ayurvedic medicine and yoga, where it's thought to harmonise the two hemispheres of the brain, resulting in a balanced in physical, mental and emotional well-being," she told Mind Body Green.
This is how it's done according to Popsugar:
- Take a comfortable, tall seat with your spine straight.
- Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths through both nostrils.
- With your right hand, rest your index finger and middle finger in between your eyebrows as a light anchor.
- Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale slowly through only your left nostril for a count of five.
- Before you exhale, pause. Release your right nostril and close your left nostril with your ring finger.
- Exhale slowly through your right nostril for a count of five.
- Pause at the bottom of the exhale.
- Inhale through your right nostril for a slow count of five.
- Pause at the top of the inhale, release your left nostril, and close your right nostril.
- Exhale slowly for a count of five through your left nostril.
- This time, inhale through your left nostril, and so on and so forth.
- Repeat this five to 10 times, breathing as slowly as possible.