Yogic breathing to reduce PTSD anxiety

Yogic breathing to reduce PTSD anxiety

Nadi Shodhan Pranayama is a yogic breathing technique which helps to calm and centre the mind, to keep it happy, relaxed and peaceful and rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit – incredibly useful for PTSD sufferers.

It’s said that a few minutes of this alternate nostril breathing each day helps to de-stress and release accumulated tension and fatigue by lowering your heart rate. As you shift your focus between your left and right nostrils, your mind naturally becomes more centered and focused. It can clear out blocked energy channels in the body and harmonize the left and right hemispheres of the brain – both of which can reduce anxiety levels.

In yoga, it is believed that by practicing this, you will cleanse and purify the ‘nadis’, which will allow for a smoother flow of “prana,” (meaning, “life force energy”) throughout the body, mind, and spirit. ‘When prana becomes unbalanced, due to mental and physical stress, the nadis become blocked, which can lead to illness and disease. Keeping the nadis cleansed will lead to overall wellness and peace in all areas of life’ – very useful for anyone with PTSD!


How to do Alternate Nostril Breathing

Begin in a comfortable sitting position. Soften your jaw and breathe naturally. Keep your eyes closed throughout and continue taking long, deep, smooth breaths without any force or effort.

  • With your right hand, bend your index and middle fingers, keeping your ring finger, pinkie finger, and thumb extended. Place the fingers very lightly on the forehead and nose. There is no need to apply any pressure.
  • Close your right nostril with your right thumb.
  • Inhale deeply through your left nostril. Do not breathe from the mouth or make any sound while breathing.
  • At the top of your inhalation, close your left nostril with your right ring finger as you release the right nostril.
  • Exhale through your right nostril. Your exhalation should be longer than inhalation.
  • Keeping the left nostril closed, inhale deeply through your right nostril.
  • Seal your right nostril again with your thumb, then release your left nostril.
  • Exhale out of your left nostril. You should now be in the original position, with your thumb sealing your right nostril. This is one cycle.
  • Balance your inhalations and exhalations so they are the same length through both nostrils.
  • Repeat up to 10 full cycles, gradually increasing the number of repetitions as you gain experience.

Keep your eyes closed throughout and continue taking long, deep, smooth breath without any force or effort. Don’t hold your breathe at any point if you have high blood pressure, or any respiratory diseases. You should always stop immediately if you become dizzy or faint. If you have any concerns about practising yoga, you should speak to your GP.

Don’t push yourself with this exercise, if your breath becomes difficult or if you start feeling anxious, stop the exercise and return to your normal breathing before you attempt it again.


SOURCES: ArtofLiving, YogaOutlet

IMAGE: Breathe by hilectric

Join Team PTSD UK for the 2022 LLHM!

Join Team PTSD UK for the 2022 LLHM! You can run the London Landmarks Half Marathon to support PTSD UK! This event is not your average half marathon! From cultural landmarks and heritage to the city’s quirky and hidden secrets,

Read More »

Remember remember… those with PTSD

Remember remember… those with PTSD We’ve mentioned before that people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can often develop difficulties with sounds such as exaggerated startle response, fear of sound (phonophobia), aversion to specific sounds (misophonia), and a difficulty in tolerance and volume of

Read More »

Case Study: CBT Treatment – Holly

Case Study: CBT Treatment – Holly  Holly developed PTSD after seeing her Dad who received fatal crush injuries. Following intense flashbacks and intrusive memories, she started CBT treatment which allowed her to become free from the effects of PTSD within

Read More »

Unexpected physical symptoms of PTSD

Unexpected physical symptoms of PTSD Cortisol is a vital element in our bodies as it converts proteins into usable energy – it’s what gets us out of bed in the morning, and it’s also used by our bodies for balancing insulin effects

Read More »

Are you looking to fundraise for PTSD UK?

THANK YOU!!  We are a small charity so our main goals at the moment are to increase awareness that we exist (so people can get the support and information they need) and to maximise fundraising to allow us to achieve our mission of supporting everyone in the UK affected by PTSD, no matter the trauma that caused it.