#02 Breathwork: Alternate Nostril Breathing w/ Shayla Stonechild

#02 Breathwork: Alternate Nostril Breathing w/ Shayla Stonechild

Tansi, Hello, to all my relatives.

My name is Shayla Oulette Stonechild. As a Mètis and Nehiyaw woman I am excited to bring forth practices for you to reclaim your power. The Matriarch Movement focuses on amplifying Indigenous voices and providing wellness workshops that focus on interweaving meditation, movement and medicine. 


Alternate Nostril Breathwork:

Alternate Nostril Breathing derives from Sanskrit "Nadi Shodhana Pranayama" which translate to "subtle energy clearing breathing technique”.

      Did you know? 

Sanskrit is the classical language of India and Hinduism. The language was systematically developed in regards to the natural progressions of sounds created by the human mouth. Designed to be an unchanging and perfected mode of communication, it is believed Sanskrit belongs to no one and, thus, belongs to all. 

In today's workshop we are practicing a form of breath work called Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana Pranayama) this practice allows us to help quiet the mind, release stress and make meditation easier.

What makes this technique so useful for our meditations is that it has proven benefits to calm the mind, reduce anxiety, and uplift the feeling of relaxation to the entire body. When we do this, it allows our body to cultivate our thoughts and being into stillness, especially for those who struggle to settle down before meditation practices. 

How To Do Alternate Nostril Breathing

  • Sit in a comfortable position with your spine long like a string is pulling you the father sky and have your hips relaxed, now close your eyes.
  • Place the tip of the index finger and middle finger of the right hand in between the eyebrows (3rd eye) with the ring finger and little finger on the left nostril, and the thumb on the right nostril. Use the ring finger and little finger to open and close the left nostril and use the thumb for the right nostril.
  • On exhale, close the right nostril with your thumb and breathe out through the left nostril.
  • Breathe in through the left nostril and then close with the ring finger.
  • Release the thumb on the right nostril and breathe out through the right nostril.
  • Inhale through the right nostril, close with the thumb, release the ring finger from the left side and exhale through the left nostril.
  • These two full breaths are called one round of Alternate Nostril Breath.
  • Perform 5–9 rounds of this alternating breath between the nostrils. Remember to always inhale through the same nostril you just exhaled through.

What is this technique great for?

When practicing this technique for a few minutes, breathing can help reduce stress in the moment of high-stress events such as job interviews, workplace and public speaking events. This practice can be a great way to calm a class of children before the day because learning breathing exercises gives them a powerful tool to help regulate their emotional responses.



We hope that this helps with your meditations and stress. We will see you on our next weeks workshop.


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  We acknowledge we are on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.