Breathwork Techniques: Alternate Nostril Breathing


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The History of Alternate Nostril Breathing

Alternate nostril breathing (ANB), also known as nadi shodhana, is a yogic breathing technique that has been practiced for centuries. It is a simple yet powerful way to calm the mind and body, and it can be used to reduce stress, anxiety, and insomnia.

The history of ANB is long and winding. It has been used in ancient Indian texts such as the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, and it is also mentioned in the Bible. In the West, ANB first became popular in the 1960s, when it was introduced by Leonard Orr, a pioneer of rebirthing breathwork.

Orr discovered ANB while experimenting with different breathing patterns. He found that it helped to calm his mind and body, and he began to teach it to others. ANB quickly became popular among yogis and meditators, and it has since been adopted by people of all backgrounds.

The Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing

There are many benefits to ANB. It can help to:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Improve sleep
  • Boost energy levels
  • Improve concentration
  • Increase self-awareness
  • Improve overall well-being

ANB works by balancing the energy in the body. When you breathe through alternate nostrils, you are essentially stimulating the two sides of your brain and the two hemispheres of your nervous system. This can help to improve your mood, reduce stress, and improve your overall health.

How to Do Alternate Nostril Breathing

There are many different ways to do ANB, but the basic technique is as follows:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your legs crossed.
  2. Place your right hand on your right knee.
  3. Use your left thumb to close your left nostril.
  4. Inhale slowly and deeply through your right nostril.
  5. Exhale slowly and completely through your left nostril.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5, but this time use your right thumb to close your right nostril.
  7. Continue this pattern for 5-10 minutes, or until you feel relaxed and calm.

If you are new to ANB, you may find it helpful to use a timer to help you keep track of the time. You can also use a finger or a cotton ball to block your nostrils if you don't have a thumb.


Alternate nostril breathing is a simple yet powerful way to improve your health and well-being. If you are looking for a way to reduce stress, improve sleep, or boost your energy levels, ANB is a great option to try.