Perception of Alternate Breathing

In our day to day life, we experience manifestation and co­existence of two opposing principles e.g. hot and cold, harmony and chaos, love and hate, good and evil, beauty and ugliness, constructive and destructive ideas, negative and positive attitudes, and so on. Under normal situations, these opposing forces remain in equilibrium. Similarly, our body ;maintains harmony between the two opposing subsystems of the autonomic nervous system that are responsible for our physical and psychological well-being. This harmony gets disturbed due to the fast life style of this age.

Breathing can bring about substantial changes in our life because breath remains connected and control the working and harmony of both nervous system. We can breath either through the right or the left nostrils, or through both of these. Breathing through alternate nostrils is an amazing phenomenon and the selection of the nostril largely governs the type of activities that ensue. For example, fervid actions can be accomplished while breathing through the right nostril. In contrast, breathing through left nostril imparts patience and perseverance. Similarly, breathing through both the nostrils takes us to the state ofsamadhi , a form of deep meditation.


The main objectives of the perception of alternate breathing are:

  • To achieve and sustain a state of equanimity
  • To establish homeostasis in the body functions and processes
  • To gain higher levels of consciousness

During the last millennium, scientific discoveries have revealed the secrets of the working strategies and the connection of the two cerebral hemispheres and the process of breathing. The right hemisphere of the brain offers discipline , faith, friendliness, good conduct, and other similar positive attributes while the left hemisphere gifts logical and reasoning capabilities. Establishing balance between both the hemispheres is the objective of perception of alternate breathing.

For a spiritual life, equanimity is the founding principle. It is believed that the state of equanimity can be achieved by equally activating both the respiratory cycles. A more active right cycle causes aggression, anger , and tension while a more active left cycle leads to fear and inferiority complex. While practicing alternate breathing, mind and breath should accompany each other. Holding of the breath also plays an important role in achieving the state of thoughtlessness.


First, inhale through the right nostril and hold the breath inside. Exhale through the left nostril and hold the breath outside. Now, inhale through the left nostril and hold the breath inside. Then exhale through the right nostril and hold the breath outside. It completes one round of alternate breathing. Regular practice of perception of alternate breathing can enhance mental concentration.


Perception of alternate breathing is a unique technique, which offers several benefits:

  • Achieves higher levels of consciousness
  • Increases mental concentration and alertness
  • Provides extra sensory perceptions and intuition
  • Establishes homeostasis in the body functions and processes

Perception of alternate breathing is a scientific technique in which alternate breathing is practiced to help us establish the state of equanimity and lead a healthy life.

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Founder Institution: Indian Yoga Association