The Balanced BriefWellness

Wednesday Wellbeing: It’s Christmas, so BREATHE! By Zoe

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time? Take time to breath

How’re you doing this festive season? Are you juggling a million and one things at work and home? Preparing, shopping, wrapping, socialising, over-working perhaps in the run up to Christmas? Sound familiar? Or have you got it all covered, planned and prepped in advance like our Rachel Chan at 42BR? Or maybe your immune system needs a boost. Whatever it is, breath techniques are an incredibly accessible tool.

Wherever you’re currently at, this is your invitation to take a few moments to stop and breathe. No, I really mean it! Find a moment to take the time to stop and breathe mindfully and really notice how you’re taking that life-giving nectar, oxygen, into your lungs. You can close your eye if you’d like to!

Below I share some simple tips. If you came to our Law in Style and Wellbeing  event recently you might remember these and be grateful to see them in print!

The magic that works

As a kundalini yoga and meditation teacher, I know from experience how potent it is to notice and practice how I breathe. In my yoga classes I see the instant impact that working with the breath has on those present in the class. Ialso know breath work can be life changing when practised regularly and can support us in maintaining good physical and mental health which includes managing anxiety, stress and depression. Did you catch the thought provoking post by ‘Annie’ earlier this week on depression?


Just notice for a moment how you’re breathing right now. The majority of us spend most of the time breathing into our chests. This type of breathing keeps us going of course but it never allows the body to fully relax, thus we are kept in semi or permanent fight or flight mode. This can exacerbate stress and anxiety as our body is on alert as it prepares to respond to a perceived danger. We don’t tend to notice how we breath unless we’re exercising or running for a bus, perhaps.

Breathwork examples  

Let’s keep things simple by using two yogic breath work techniques. Both examples involve simply blocking off one nostril and breathing in and out of the nostril that remains uncovered. Yogi Bhajan taught that the quality of breath brought in through the right nostril corresponded to the left hemisphere of the brain and breath bought in through the left nostril corresponded to the right hemisphere of the brain. Each side of the brain is associated with supporting different functions or qualities.

So, for example breathing in through the right nostril is associated with creating a sense of energy, alertness, will power and being ready for action. Breathing in through the left nostril is associated with calmness, sensitivity and empathy.

If you were at our Law in Style and Wellbeing event in November you heard me explain this and had a chance amongst the fun and prosecco, to practice the techniques too.

How to do it

Close your eyes, relax the facial muscles and drop the shoulders for both techniques. To stop the mind wandering, keep a focus through your closed eyes at the brow point, the place between the centre of your eyebrows.

Left nostril breathing

To experience calm, take the index finger on your right hand and block off your right nostril. Inhale deeply and slowly through the left nostril. Then exhale deeply and slowly through the left nostril.
Try for between 3 and 5 minutes a day or when needed and notice the impact. Good for easing anxiety and stress and promoting a sense of calm.
Can be useful just before bed, to wind down at the end of a day or create a sense of calm before tackling a stressful situation.

Right nostril breathing

To experience a sense of being more focused or energised, or to strengthen your will power, take the left index finger to block off the left nostril, and breath in slowly and deeply through the right nostril. Then exhale slowly and deeply through the right nostril. Try for between 3 – 5 minutes.
Can be useful first thing in the morning or when a boost is needed at any point during the day.

Take a moment at the end to notice how you feel or to note changes or shifts in body or mind. Either can be done, anytime, anywhere as long as you don’t mind people looking at you! Who cares what people think anyway! Can also be paired with music or sounds. Both techniques can be used as part of a daily practice, habit or ritual to connect with yourself and to take time for you.

I’d love to know if you try them, so tweet me pictures of your practice or drop me a DM on Twitter or over on The Gram @Zoe.Swan to let me know what you think!

Love and Peace,


Health & Wellness Coach

Kundalini Yoga and Meditation Teacher