An Easy 5-Minute Yoga Breathing
Technique Called Pranayama

Promotes Calmness And A Settling Of The Mind

Here is a simple and useful yoga breathing exercise to help create balance in body and mind. It is included also in the Self-Health Plan©, a downloadable course to promote health, which is an essential aspect of how to be happy.

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This method is called 'balanced breathing'. It is also known as the yoga breathing method of pranayama, as well as the neuro-respiratory integration technique.

This exercise is very effective in allowing mental activity to settle down so that awareness is less 'scattered'. The experts say it can be done for 2 to 5 minutes at a time, several times a day if desired.

It is a useful technique for settling an overactive mind in various situations:

  • at bed time, as an aid to falling asleep more easily and for a better quality of sleep;
  • at the start of a session Conscious Mental Rest© or a 'meditation' session, if your mind or emotions are quite active at the time;
  • in situations of emotional upset, to settle oneself to a calmer state.

How to do balanced breathing

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  1. Sit comfortably, straight spine, and close your eyes. Breathe in normally.
  2. With your right thumb close your right nostril, and breathe out normally through your left nostril.
  3. Next, inhale easily, again through your left nostril.
  4. Next, close off your left nostril with the ring and middle fingers of your right hand, while at the same time releasing your thumb to open your right nostril again.
  5. Breathe out gently through your right nostril, and then breathe in again easily through the same (right) nostril.
  6. Again close the right nostril with your right thumb while releasing your two fingers to open your left nostril, and repeat the procedure as you started: breathe out gently through your left nostril, and then breathe in again through the same nostril.
  7. Continue like this, alternating between nostrils in an easy sequence of breathe out, breathe in change nostrils breathe out, breathe in change etc. Do this for two to five minutes.
  8. At the end of your balance breathing, begin breathing normally again through both nostrils together.
  9. Remain sitting quietly for a minute or so before opening your eyes, or ease into your session of Conscious Mental Rest or your meditation using whatever technique you usually use.
  10. If you're using this breathing technique separate form a CMR or meditation session, allow a further minute or so before easing into your activities again.


Throughout this yoga breathing exercise, breathe naturally and easily. The benefits come from the easy alternation of nostrils in the sequence explained. Forced heavy or exaggerated breathing is not desirable during the exercise.

At first you may find that you need to inhale deeply every now and then. After a while you may find that your breathing becomes more shallow, or lighter, during the exercise. This is fine. Just allow your breathing to adjust itself as it wants to while you continue the practice as described.

If you have a blocked nose, you can still attempt the exercise, and just do as best you can. You may find that your nose gradually clears.

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