Detox Mondays | Try Something New With Alternate Nostril Breathing

Alternate nostril breathing is an ancient technique used to create balance in the body by regulating the flow of air through your nasal passages. The exercise, called Nadi Shodhana, literally translates to “clearing the channels of circulation” and has been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years. Recently, however, modern science has confirmed its benefits, even claiming that this practice leads to optimum brain function on both sides of the brain, calms your nervous system and detoxifies the body from impurities.


The Logic

When Monday comes around, oftentimes are body and mind are in serious PPD (post party depression). This means our bodies are physically exhausted from the past and our mind is jumping to the future in anticipation for the next break. By taking some time in the morning to be still and detox, we achieve a state of calm needed to tackle your workweek.

Aside from the meditative benefits, however, alternate nostril breathing has been scientifically proven to improve our ability to focus, remove toxins from our lungs and body, support our respiratory system and restore balance in our brain.

The Experience

Sit in a comfortable seated position with a straight spine. Take a few breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth, to clear the space and set the tone.

Each round is comprised of 2 parts:

1. Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through your left nostril for four seconds. Then, close your left nostril with your right ring finger and pinkie finger, remove the pressure from your right nostril and exhale through your right nostril for 8 seconds.


2. Keep the pressure on your left nostril and inhale through your right nostril for four seconds. Then, close your right nostril with your thumb, remove the pressure from your left nostril and exhale through your left nostril for 8 seconds.


Each round should take about 30-40 seconds. Complete 8-10 rounds in the morning before beginning your day. Do this for as many days in a row as you can.


Taking just 5 minutes in the morning to detox can do amazing things for both the mind and body, and it keeps us from feeling frazzled and overwhelmed throughout the day. When you wake up feeling dull or tired, breathing like this does help wake you up and clear your mind. Though oftentimes we don’t notice how our breath operates throughout the day, alternate nostril breathing does help clear out the nasal passages and allow us to intake more oxygen throughout the day, purifying our body and mind.  

Ancient practitioners also claimed that this form of breathing could prevent disease by clearing blockages that develop in the nostrils. They believed these blockages cause people to favor one nostril over the other, which in turn produced different issues. For example, they claim asthma is caused by prolonged breathing from the left nostril, and diabetes is caused by prolonged breathing from the right nostril.


Tips Before You Try

Carve out a specific 5-minute time slot in advanced, like after breakfast before your morning shower, or right when you wake up before you brush your teeth. Make it specific and stick to it. By allocating time in advanced, you’re more likely to follow through with your plan. Also, go into it with an open mind. Don’t worry about the results and approach the exercise with a curious mind.

Personal Recommendation

Though I’m not 100 percent sold on the theories that disease comes from breathing too much out of a certain nostril, I can speak to the more obvious benefits. By practicing alternate nostril breathing each morning for a week, I felt an obvious improvement in my mood, focus, and mental stamina each day. In only 5 minutes, I was more awake, energetic and ready for my weekday, which is all you can really ask for after the weekend, right?