Tag: grounding exercise

Panic Attack Tips – Easy to Follow Guide!

Panic Attack Tips – Easy to Follow Guide!

Today I will be sharing panic attack tips and techniques that have helped me overcome them in the past. Panic attacks are truly terrifying, something anyone who has suffered having one will agree with. Your heart beats out of your chest, breathing becomes more difficult,…

10 Natural Grounding Techniques for Anxiety – Ultimate Guide!

10 Natural Grounding Techniques for Anxiety – Ultimate Guide!

Today I will be sharing 10 natural grounding exercises for anxiety. Grounding exercises are a way to stabilise strong emotions during stress, anxiety or trauma. Grounding is achieved by redirecting your attention away from what is causing your stress back to something more pleasurable and…

Nadi Shodhana Breathing – Pranayama Techniques

Nadi Shodhana Breathing – Pranayama Techniques

Get ready for a series of blog posts covering all of the different kinds of Pranayama breathing techniques (also known as ancient Indian Yoga breathing practices).

Today I’m discussing Nadi Shodhana, also known as Alternate Nostril Breath.

Sounds glamorous, no?

Nadi Shodhana helps to calm the mind, keeping us focused on the present moment.

Beyond that, it serves to cleanse the Nadis, which are the subtle energy channels of the body.

When the Nadis are clear, we allow for a smooth, unobstructed flow of prana (which is our life force energy) throughout the body.

Nadi Shodhana helps our respiratory health and is wonderful for our nervous system. It’s a great pranayama to do to prepare the body and mind for meditation.

Now let’s dive a little deeper…



Nadi Shodhana Breathing – Pranayama Techniques


Origins of Nadi Shodhana

The technique is called Nadi Shodhana and is sometimes described in English as alternate nostril breathing.

It was developed by ancient Indian yogis and is included in several medieval yogic texts such as the 15th Century Hatha Yoga Pradipika – which describes various yogic practices designed to purify the body, mind and sense organs.

Nadi’s are subtle energy channels that run through the body, not dissimilar to meridians of Chinese medicine.

Shodhana means cleansing or purifying.

So, the purpose of Nadi Shodhana is to cleanse two of the most important nadis, the Ida and Pingala nadis that run from the base of the sacrum up to each nostril.

For yogi’s, these nadis need to be purified so prana (life force) can travel up the central nadi (Sushumna) allowing the yogi to reach the highest state of inner awareness.

Blockages in these nadis are thought to negatively impact health.


Benefits of Nadi Shodhana

As well as its influence on the subtle body as described in the yogic texts, Nadi Shodhana has many physical health benefits.

There have even been several scientific studies into the benefits of Nadi Shodhana, which I’ve included more about below.

Something you might find interesting – which nostril is dominant as we breathe actually changes throughout the day.

This is known as the nasal cycle and each cycle normally lasts up to 2 hours.

Left nostril dominance is associated with more activity in the right side of the brain, and right nostril dominance is associated with more activity in the left side of the brain.

The reason this happens is thought to be due to increased oxygen supply to the brain through the dominant nostril.


It’s part of how our brain keeps functioning optimally and disruptions in the nasal cycle are linked to ill health. This is something the ancient yogis were aware of.

It’s thought that the regular practice of Nadi Shodhana may help regulate this process.

 When I was taught this practice, one of the main benefits was described as reduced symptoms of asthma.

This could be due to the possible link between nasal congestion and asthma.

Practicing Nadi Shodhana clears the respiratory tract and calms the nervous system – therefore starting each day with the practice could reduce symptoms of asthma and hay fever.

Although I couldn’t find any studies related to improvements in symptoms of asthma through the practice of Nadi Shodhana, several studies are indicating positive benefits from the practice.

Here are my top three:

1) Reduces anxiety

This study of nurses preparing for examinations in Bengaluru, India found that 15 minutes of Nadi Shodhana twice daily had a significant effect on reducing their test anxiety.

2) Improves heart and lung function

This study showed decreases in both heart and respiratory rates after 15 minutes of practice and then again after 8 weeks of regular practice – suggesting that Nadi Shodhana initiates a parasympathetic nervous system response

3) Aides recovery from heart surgery

This study was interesting because it focussed on patients recovering from Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery.

As we’ve already seen Nadi Shodhana improves lung function and reduces anxiety but when paired with physiotherapy it also reduced depression and stress in patients recovering from heart surgery.


So now you’ve heard how great this practice is for you, here’s how to try it yourself.


Nadi Shodhan Pranayama Vs Anulom Vilom Pranayama

What is the difference between Nadi Shodhana Pranayama and Anuloma Viloma Pranayama?

Both are similar types of breathing exercises with little difference. Hence people confuse and use them interchangeably. However, there exists a clear difference between them.

In Nadi Shodan Pranayama, there is breath retention. But in Anulom Vilom Pranayama, there is no breath retention. However, both are Alternate Nostril Breathing exercises.

Nadi Shodhan Pranayam is little advanced practice – whereas Anulom Vilom is beginner-friendly.


How to practice Nadi Shodhana

Traditionally Pranayama practices are described from a seated position on the floor.

However, this might not be the most comfortable position for everyone to begin their practice.

The most important point is to sit with your back straight to allow the prana (subtle energy) to flow up your spine.

You could sit in a chair with your feet on the floor (using books or blocks as support if needed).

Or you could sit on the floor supporting yourself with cushions.

You may want to try a few different options to see what works for you.

It’s not uncommon for your arm to start aching when you begin this practice.

If this is the case you may need to support your elbow, either by resting your arm on a table if you’re seated in a chair or with your left hand.


Step by step guide to practicing Nadi Shodhana

  1. Take a few moments to find a comfortable seat. Begin to turn your awareness inwards by noticing your breath.
  2. Take your right hand and turn your palm to face you. Fold your index and middle fingers down so only your last two fingers and your thumb are pointing upwards.
  3. Close your right nostril with your thumb, and inhale through your left nostril.
  4. Close your left nostril with your two fingers and exhale through your right nostril.
  5. Repeat these actions 4 times more, inhaling through your left nostril and exhaling through your right nostril.
  6. After five repetitions reverse the flow. So, keep your left nostril closed and inhale through your right nostril. Do this for a total of 5 breaths.
  7. This constitutes one round of Nadi Shodhana. You can do as many rounds as you like, at any time of the day until you feel regulated. It doesn’t have to be part of your regular yoga practice. In the studies referenced above, participants practised Nadi Shodhana for 15 minutes a day.


Nadi Shodhana Breathing – Final thoughts

So, if you’re looking for a simple pranayama practice that will improve your health and immediately and calm your nervous system – why not give Nadi Shodhana a try?

You can include it as part of your daily yoga practice or at any other time of the day.

Share this with any friends and family that may benefit from the practice and don’t forget to let me know how it works for you.

I would love to hear your thoughts on what you are doing to change your life in the coming days and years!

If you have any questions please reach out to me via adam@adam-lawrence.org. I would love to hear from you!

I really hope you found inspiration in this article.



Nadi Shodhana Breathing

Benefits of Deep Breathing – Ultimate Guide!

Benefits of Deep Breathing – Ultimate Guide!

Today I will be talking about deep breathing. How many times have you been angry, stressed, or anxious and someone told you to just take a deep breath? Often at times, we write this phrase off as just what you’re supposed to say when you don’t…

4 7 8 Breathing Method – Ultimate Guide!

4 7 8 Breathing Method – Ultimate Guide!

Today we will be sharing with you all need to know about the 4 7 8 breathing method. If you’ve ever found yourself in a moment where your stress is through the roof and you struggle to calm down quickly, or you’re fighting against another…

Box Breathing Exercise – For Stress & Anxiety Relief!

Box Breathing Exercise – For Stress & Anxiety Relief!

Today I will be talking you through the box breathing exercise for stress and anxiety relief.

What do yoga teachers, meditation leaders, mindfulness practitioners, Navy SEALs, firefighters, paramedics, and elite athletes all have in common?

Take a moment to think about the relaxed state many of these different categories of people can be in.

Even in high-stress situations, soldiers, firefighters and other professionals in such stressful jobs can keep their shit together and get the job done.

The military and other professionals in high pressured jobs have been using tactical box breathing  for years – soldiers rely on this technique to reduce stress and calm themselves down under extreme pressure.

Box breathing has also been adopted by elite athletes to gain focus and control in the heat of competition.

Often undervalued, breathing is one of the most important things you can do to control your anxiety and stress. It has been shown to help control anxiety and nervousness in high stress situations.

During stressful moments conscious breathing allows you to shift and release negative energy, instead of storing it in your body.

This is important because stored-up energy often manifests as muscle tension and other physical ailments.



Box Breathing Exercise – For Stress & Anxiety Relief!


The benefits of Box breathing

Box breathing is a powerful tool for reducing stress, and it has an immediate impact. Square breathing is used by the US Navy Seals and in professions such as law enforcement and medical care, where managing high stress situations is a critical part of the role.

Here are some of the benefits identified by the Mayo Clinic:

  • Eases anxiety, depression, and other stress related issues
  • Increases alertness
  • Allows your body to release toxins more readily

The Mayo Clinic also identifies a neurological foundation to the benefits of square breathing:

Many studies have found that deep, yogic breathing helps balance the autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary bodily functions, such as temperature control and bladder function.

This may help ease symptoms of stress-related disorders and mental health conditions such as anxiety, general stress, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

All very profound!

Below are the benefits of box breathing as I experience them:

Reduces stress instantly

I think of the box breathing technique as ‘the body regaining control over the mind’. The deep breathing triggers a relaxation response which regains control over the body’s fight or flight response to short-term stress.

When I’m feeling stressed at work a few minutes of box breathing really helps. And it’s so practical because I can do it at my desk (I don’t need a darkened room, and I don’t have to close my eyes to feel the benefits).

Increases focus and control

If I’m feeling nervous or becoming frustrated with a certain situation, box breathing can help.

With the reduced stress comes an increased focus and control which enhances my performance with my work.

A useful weight-control ally

This may seem like a strange benefit! Here’s how square breathing helps me manage my weight.

Towards the end of the afternoon I often get hungry and low on energy. My previous habit was to walk over to the cupboard for some biscuits or a chocolate bar.

Now, when I get that little bit hungry / low energy feeling towards the end of the afternoon I do a few minutes of square breathing.

It’s enough to refocus me and recharge me to get through until my next meal.

A quick and effective break from work

Ideally, we take regular breaks through-out the day, to recharge and refocus. But sometimes that’s just not possible. There’s just too much on.

When that’s the case, try just 3 minutes of square breathing, it really helps.


How to practice box breathing

Try it out using the gif provided below. It’s really simple, but a little practice will give you the confidence to use it when you need it.

Sit comfortably in your chair, relax your shoulders, have your hands comfortable (perhaps resting in your lap).

Practice: inhale, hold, exhale, hold, repeat.

When you first practice, don’t worry about how long you are practicing, just focus on the rhythm (even just for 3 or 4 cycles is fine).

Box breathing is also known as box breathing or 4×4 breathing (or even four-square breathing).

Did I mention that the box breathing technique is really simple? Here’s all you need to know about the technique itself.

  • Step 1: Inhale your breath (to a count of 4)
  • Step 2: Hold your breath (to a count of 4)
  • Step 3: Exhale your breath (to a count of 4)
  • Step 4: Hold your breath (to a count of 4)
  • Step 5: Repeat

This is what it looks like:




Here are some additional tips:

  • Don’t strain your diaphragm by over-inhaling or over-exhaling, experiment with the level of inhale and exhale that is comfortable for you.
  • If at any time you feel a little dizzy, just stop, rest in your seat a minute and come back to the practice later.
  • As you become more practiced, you might want to set a timer on your phone and explore longer sessions of square breathing (though I’ve never felt the need to go beyond 5 minutes).
  • You can also explore the durations of the inhale, the holds and exhale. You can explore a ‘bigger box’ (eg: a 5 x 5 square breathing practice), or you can keep the holds to a count of 4 and extend the exhale and inhale (creating an oblong breathing practice!).

This is a simple technique that can be extended as you become more confident.


Box Breathing Exercise – Final thought

Unarguably, box breathing is a great way to enhance your attention and concentration and lower stress and anxiety in tour daily lives.

Like many breathing techniques, box breathing has been shown to bring short- as well as long-term health benefits to its practitioners.

While more research is required, the current findings are enough to regard box breathing as an extremely effective way to boost focus, deal with stress, boost mood and mental state.

I would love to hear your thoughts on what you are doing to change your life in the coming days and years!

If you have any questions please reach out to me via adam@adam-lawrence.org. I would love to hear from you!

I really hope you found inspiration in this article.






5 4 3 2 1 Grounding Exercise – Great for Anxiety and Stress!

5 4 3 2 1 Grounding Exercise – Great for Anxiety and Stress!

Today I will talking about one of my favourite grounding techniques, the 5 4 3 2 1 grounding exercise. Stress and anxiety have skyrocketed in recent years — in kids and adults. It’s crucial we discover strategies to cope, to become more resilient, and manage these…

Top 3 Grounding Techniques – Anxiety, Stress, Panic & Anxiety Attacks!

Top 3 Grounding Techniques – Anxiety, Stress, Panic & Anxiety Attacks!

Today I will be sharing our top three grounding techniques for calming anxiety, stress, panic and anxiety attacks. Grounding techniques are a way to stabilise strong emotions during stress, anxiety or trauma. Grounding is achieved by redirecting your attention away from what is causing your…