Alternate nostril breath meditation
This practice of pranayama is wonderful for bringing about a feeling of balance and well being. Because the nostrils are said to connect to our male and female energy channels, when we focus on the nostril, we balance and purify that corresponding channel of energy. The regular practice of alternate nostril breathing is said to help us experience the feeling of being beyond the polarity of male and female and into the non dual Reality of oneness. Practice this when you are feeling scattered or unfocused, and you will be amazed at the results.
2. Allow the body to relax completely, especially your abdomen.
3. Notice how a relaxed abdomen naturally brings about a deepening and softening of the breath.
4. Allow the abdomen to relax more and more with each breath. As you let the abdomen soften, and the breath to deepen; start to become evermore aware of the feeling of nourishment in the breath. Be aware of the sensation of the body being nourished by the breath.
5. Allow your breath to flow as naturally and as freely possible; as if the breath is taking on a life of its own, moving from a deep inner intelligence and knowing.
6. As you are enjoying the feeling of a deep intuitive breathing and the feeling of nourishment within the breath, start to become aware of the sensation of air moving in the nostrils.
8. Take about 10 breaths to concentrate on the feeling of the air moving in the nostrils, and the feeling of the body being nourished by the breath. As you are doing so, see if you can detect which nostril feels more open or expanded. (this is your active nostril)
9. Start to focus on your active nostril only. Breathe as if you are breathing through just that one nostril. Focus on the feeling of the air moving on that one side. Focus on this for about 30 seconds, or 10 breaths.
10. When it feels natural to switch sides, start to focus on the movement of air on the other side (the passive nostril). Focus on the feeling of the air moving inside the passive nostril. Focus on this for about 30 seconds, or 10 breaths. You may find this side more challenging to concentrate on, yet eventually it will begin to feel as if it is opening and expanding to be the same as the other side.
11. The final phase of this exercise is to imagine that you are breathing into a third nostril that runs from the tip of the nose to the center of the forehead. Inhale and move your awareness from the tip of the nose to center of the forehead and exhale from the center of the forehead to the tip of the nose. Stay with this for about 10 breaths.
12. Go back to breathing into the belly and focusing once again on the feeling of being nourished by the breath.
13. Stay with the belly breathing as long as you are comfortable and enjoy the feeling of balance and wellbeing.
© written and modeled by Christine Wushke, Photo’s by Dianne Wushke.