Balanced Breathing Exercise
Breathing Activity for Mindfulness
The balancing breath is our offering to help you find a sense of balance in your inner world. Practice alone, in a class, or with a friend. Once you are confident that you know it, you can try to this practice without aid. Do this breath routinely to encourage a sense of inner balance in your life. After you try this practice, notice or journal about what you sense the effects of the practice are on you. If practicing with younger children, they can absolutely do this breath, but children under 7 may not have a strong grasp on right and left. You may choose to simply say one side and then the next for those younger yogis. They may also need help with facilitated questions such as, “Are you feeling balanced?” Facilitated questions help yogis of all ages integrate what they have just done, notice its effects, and remember them.
The balancing breath is a take on alternate nostril breathing. Rather than using the fingers to close off the nostrils as is traditionally done, you will use the palms opening and closing in your lap to signal which nostril and side of the body you are breathing into or out of. Schools may find this is more sanitary and students may find it more simple than the traditional breath.
How to do the Balanced Breath:
Sit up comfortably, tall spine, relaxed shoulders. Let the palms be open in your lap. You may sit on the floor or in a chair. If possible, choose a quiet, calm environment.
Keep your left hand opened and close the right. Imagine that you can breath in through the left side nostril, filling the left whole left side of you from your toes to the crown of your head. It can help to visualize the breathing come in as a beautiful white light, as water, or as a color. Choose any visual that is pleasing to you. Breathe into the left side until it feels to the brim. Then, close the left hand and open the right.
Breathe out and imagine the breath coming out the right nostril, emptying your right side body of breath. Imagine your breath coming out from your crown down the right side and out of your fingers. Breathe into your right side now, once full to the crown, close the right hand and open the left. Breathe out the left.
Repeat several times. When you are feeling complete, perhaps after 10 rounds, open both palms and release the breath and visual through both sides. Notice how the experience makes you feel.