Jul 23

TIP - use headphones for ease of hearing on this video (this is my first video ever before I owned a microphone!)

This is the first technique I teach my students when they are new to learning meditation. The most common obstacle I seem to hear about is an "overactive mind" or "thoughts racing" or "mental chatter". What is actually happening is that people are stuck in the "default network" of the brain. In order to explore meditation with more ease I like to give people the tool of pranayama to help to still the thought waves of the mind.

The breath is the gateway to the nervous system and so by controlling our respiration, we access ways to calm the mind and become more present for meditation. This pranayama is scientifically proven to calm mental chatter and sooth the entire extended nervous system by activating the parasympathetic N.S.

You will feel the effects of this breath not just on the mind, but the entire body will feel more grounded. This intro to meditation and breathing is also a great sleep aid. By using the alternate nostril breath, we balance the hemispheres of the brain and promote easeful sleep.

When the left hemisphere is dominant, we practice this simple visualization of moving the breath from one nostril to the other and awaken the right hemisphere of the brain which allows us to fall asleep and dream.

Most of the time, we function using our left brain. We make sense of things, analyze language, interpret information, communication, project things into linear time, past and future, and absorb new facts. The right hemisphere is in charge of our imagination, sleep and dreams, memory, intuition and all of our creative functions.

By alternating the dominant nostril back and forth, we are alternating the dominant hemisphere of the brain and create a balancing effect. Therefore making sleep easeful by activating the right hemisphere.

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About the Author

Ally Boothroyd is a yoga educator and meditation teacher with a passion for yoga nidra and the healing power of conscious rest. She is the founder of Sarovara Yoga, a yoga space and women's retreat centre in Ontario, Canada. A sanctuary on the water where she fosters local community and supports health, personal growth, emotional resiliency, authenticity, awareness, and awakening. Ally also leads Retreats and Yoga Teacher Trainings in Nosara, Costa Rica