Woman relaxing in meditation

How to balance your emotions quickly, easily (and without anybody noticing).

March 16, 2018 , In: Self care, Yoga & meditation , With: 10 Comments

Do you know this feeling?

Your head’s swimming in overwhelm with 1000 different thoughts darting all over the place. Your skin is prickly-hot and you might even feel a bit wobbly and light-headed. Your heart’s boom-booming, your breath feels fast and your emotions are all over the map.

But you crave calm; peace of mind. You want to sort out your messy head-space and get back to a feeling of  balance so you can feel good and get on with things.

I’ve certainly felt like this – several times!  I used to feel really panicky in business meetings (especially if I was due to present something). I’ve experienced extreme nervousness in medical waiting rooms, high-in-the-sky on long haul flights and numerous social situations. (I know, I’m a bit of a fruit-cake…)

But this little gem of a technique I have to share with you has never failed to saved my sanity and reign my emotions back into line.

The technique is called Alternate Side Breathing. It’s an easy-to-learn, quick and practical way to calm a frazzled mind and reinstate balance. Plus, this handy method is completely portable and invisible to those around you, so you can practise it anywhere, at anytime, without worrying about looking like a weirdo.

Alternate Side Breathing is based on the yogic pranayama (breathwork) method Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing). It helps to harmonise the flow of energy between left and right sides of the brain to induce clarity and tranquility. Ahhhhhh….. nice, huh? It’s simple, and requires just a little concentration and imagination.

Ready to try for yourself?

Follow these easy steps below to regain your composure, pronto:

  • Get comfortable. Sit or lie down in a symmetrical position; allow the body to relax. Close your eyes if you like.
  • Visualise. Imagine your body resting inside a triangular shape. Picture a line between your feet forming the base of your triangle. The space between your eyebrows will be the top, or apex, of your triangle. The imaginary line from each foot to the eyebrow centre forms the sides of the triangle.
  • Find the breath. Take your attention to the nostrils and simply watch your inhalation flowing into the nostrils, the exhalation leaving the body through the nostrils. Watch a few cycles of breath with a gentle awareness.
  • Trace the breath. Imagine your next inhalation originating at your left foot, or the left corner of your triangle. As you continue to inhale, imagine the breath moving up the left side of your triangle, until you reach the apex, at the eyebrow centre, as you complete the inhale. Keep the breath relaxed, avoid any straining or holding. Pause. Now, as you exhale, imagine the breath moving down the right side of your triangle, from eyebrow centre to right foot. Pause.
  • Reverse the pattern. With the new round of breath, mentally trace the triangle shape in reverse; breath in up the right side, breath out down the left side. You’ve completed one round when you breath out and down the left side.
  • Continue. Breathe in this inverted V shape for another 3-7 rounds.
  • Finish and observe. After 3-7 rounds of Alternate Side Breathing, return to your own natural pattern of breathing. Take few moments to observe how you feel now. Hopefully a little more balanced, settled and refreshed. 
A versatile solution.

You can harness the power of Alternate Side Breathing in many different situations:

  • Can’t sleep? Switch counting sheep for Alternate Side Breathing.
  • Got time to kill? Make use of waiting time in queues or at the red light by doing a few rounds of this special exercise.
  • Feeling scattered? The thinking required to do Alternate Side Breathing builds focus and concentration.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Alternate Side Breathing: Does it bring you back to calm? Do you find it easy to do?

PS: Wanna relax on the regular, but not sure what to do?  The ‘Calm Compass’ quiz will help you discover the relaxation technique best suited to YOU!

    • Celia
    • March 20, 2018

    Hey that’s really neat and so simple. My mind clear d of thoughts while I was focusing on the breathing. Thanks for sharing.

      • Bronni Page
      • March 20, 2018

      Ahhhh…a clear mind – wonderful! Hope this little technique serves you well. 🙂

    • Deb Rock-Evans
    • March 20, 2018

    I’m out walking now but I’ll try this out today. Keen to share y with my teenager too who is often very anxious and stressy!

      • Bronni Page
      • March 23, 2018

      Great idea to share with your teenager. I think it’s super important to give our kids tools to manage stress – and this one is so easy!

    • Peti
    • March 20, 2018

    That was surprisingly relaxing! I *think* I interpreted your instructions correctly but it would be awesome to see an illustration of what you’re describing. Stick figures, nothing fancy hehe!

      • Bronni Page
      • March 20, 2018

      Oh good! That’s a great idea to include a diagram to explain it visually – I’ll see what I can do. Thanks for the suggestions Peti.

  1. Reply

    What a fantastic tool and you don’t need to carry anything with you to be able to do it.. Because of my hijacking I get a bit overwhelmed quite often in the car and I think this could help loads as I can also keep my focus on the road while breathing. We tend to complicate things so much – just breathe.

      • Bronni Page
      • March 21, 2018

      Yes I particularly love that you can do this technique incognito and without any fancy equipment. Hope this helps you in the car too.

    • J9
    • March 22, 2018

    I love this take on finding your breath, I do focus back in on my breathing when I’m feeling nervous but I really like the idea of flowing up one side of the body and down the other. I’m going to practice this, thanks Bronni!

      • Bronni Page
      • March 23, 2018

      Great to hear you’re going to give it a go! Let me know how you get on.

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Hi, I'm Bronni

Writer, health nut, mum, wife, 'me-time’ craver & general life enthusiast

Adventures in calm is a fun, welcoming place to recharge your soul and follow my quirky adventures in cultivating calm. Think yoga, meditation, self-care experiments and life-hacks that are simple to do and easy to fit into life, everyday. I’d love you to join me - adventures are more adventurous with a few friends, right?