Yoga for Grief Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 11

Balancing Breath

5 min - Practice


Michelle guides us in a practice of Nadi Shoadhana or Alternate Nostril Breathing to help balance the nervous system and ease the anxiety or depression that may turn up while grieving.
What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video

Nov 25, 2019
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For this pranayama, or breath practice, we are going to endeavor to create a sense of balance in the system. It's really common in grief to have both anxiety and depression, and this practice has the aim of balancing the nervous system in a way that will feel calming. So it's called alternate nostril breath, or nadi shodhana, and we'll use a particular hand gesture. So with your right hand, we'll use the thumb to seal off the right nostril, and the ring finger to seal off the left nostril, and I'll talk you through the practice when we get there. The two-piece fingers might rest gently on the forehead, just as a place to land, okay?

So getting that right hand ready, and then just letting it rest for a moment so that we can come into what feels like a natural rhythm of breath. You might close your eyes or keep them open, settle into your base, into your seat, make any movements or adjustments that you need to. And then start to feel the natural rhythm, pace, and depth of your breath here. Notice your state of being, your state of mind, your physical state, the felt sense of being you. And then we'll come into this alternate nostril practice.

So the right hand comes up, peace fingers gently on the forehead, and we'll pause here. Shoulders stay relaxed, releasing the skin around the eyes, the jaw, the tongue. Just feeling again that natural rhythm of your own breath. We're going to keep this natural rhythm of breathing throughout the practice, so we're not going to try to speed it up, we're elongated, it's just how your breath wants to be through one nostril at a time. Natural completely here, and then seal your right nostril with your thumb and inhale naturally.

Seal your left nostril for a moment and then release your right nostril exhale. Natural inhale through the right again. For a moment, sealing both, release your ring finger left nostril exhale naturally. Inhale through the left, seal, release the right exhale. Natural inhale through the right, seal, release the left exhale.

We'll go through a few more rounds, natural inhale left, seal, release right exhale. Inhale right, seal, release left exhale. Do this a few more rounds at your own pace which might be slower or faster. Around the skin of the face, around the eyes, the jaw, the shoulders, all soft. If at any time this becomes stressful or overwhelming, just let your hand go, let it rest on your thigh or in your lap and come back to natural breathing.

We'll end the round of alternate nostril breath by exhaling through the left. So when you get there, exhale through the left nostril and then release your hand, keep your eyes closed if that feels right, and just stay with the inward sense of the effect of that practice. Then letting the eyes blink open, aware of your states, again your mental, your physical, just noticing how it is to be you. This is a practice that you can do for several minutes at any time during the day to create that sense of rebalance and ease in your systems. Thank you for practicing.


Emilie A
1 person likes this.
Great practice, super helpful to calm down and have a clear mind. Thanks!
Michelle Marlahan
So glad to hear, Emilie!
Sandra Židan
Thanks, Michelle! 

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