Alternate Nostril Breathing: The 16-Second Trick for Calming the Heck Down

You woke up to a leak in the kitchen, narrowly avoided a fender bender en route to the office and now you have 50 “urgent” emails to weed through before you see your boss. (Oh, and it’s only 11:00 a.m.) How the hell are you going to make it through this day without blowing a gasket? The answer: Alternate nostril breathing.

So What is Alternate Nostril Breathing?

We came across this tip on our friend Grace Atwood’s blog and were immediately intrigued. Thought to harmonize both hemispheres of the brain, nadi shodhana is a form of meditation so easy that you don’t even realize you’re doing it. We gave it a go on a stressful morning and are pleased to report that it seriously works. Intrigued? Read Grace’s tutorial below.

And How Exactly Do I Try Alternate Nostril Breathing?

“You can do this wherever you are, standing or seated, although I prefer to practice it seated with closed eyes. Take your right hand, curl the ring and pinky fingers into the base of the palm, join the middle and index fingers together, pointing the thumb upright.

4 Seconds: Gently press the extended two fingers to close off the left nostril as you inhale for a count of 4 through the right nostril.

8 Seconds: Close your right nostril by pressing down with the thumb, simultaneously releasing closure of the left nostril as you exhale out of the left nostril for a count of 4.

12 Seconds: Inhale for a count of 4 through the left nostril, keeping the right nostril closed with the thumb.

16 Seconds: Press the two fingers against the left nostril as you release the thumb from the right nostril to exhale out for a count of 4.”

That’s it, folks: A total headspace reset in 16 seconds.

Check out more wellness tips on Grace’s fabulous blog, The Stripe, and don’t miss our exclusive interview on The Coterie.