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Use Alternate Nostril Breathing to Calm the Mind and Improve Overall Health in Older Adults



Alternate Nostril Breathing (ANB) is a simple yet powerful breathing technique that has been used for thousands of years in traditional yoga practices. Also known as Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, ANB involves alternating the inhalation and exhalation between the left and right nostrils.

This technique is believed to balance the flow of energy through the body, calm the mind, and improve overall health and well-being. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of ANB for older adults and provide a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

Benefits of ANB for Older Adults

As we age, our bodies undergo various changes that can impact our respiratory system. Breathing becomes more difficult, and the lung capacity decreases. ANB can help alleviate some of these age-related respiratory issues by improving the flow of oxygen to the brain and body.

Additionally, ANB has several other benefits for older adults, including:

  • Reducing Stress and Anxiety
    • ANB is a calming practice that can help reduce stress and anxiety. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation and reduces the production of stress hormones like cortisol.
  • Improving Brain Function
    • ANB has been shown to improve cognitive function and memory in older adults. The increased oxygen flow to the brain can help improve mental clarity, focus, and concentration.
  • Lowering Blood Pressure
    • ANB has been found to lower blood pressure in older adults. High blood pressure is a common issue among older adults and can lead to a variety of health problems, including heart disease and stroke.
  • Boosting Immune System
    • ANB can improve the overall health and immunity of older adults by increasing the oxygen flow to the body, promoting detoxification, and reducing inflammation.

How to Do ANB

Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of ANB, let’s dive into how to do it!




  1. Find a comfortable seated position with your spine straight and your shoulders relaxed.
  2. Place your left hand on your left knee with your palm facing up. Bring your right hand to your face and use your thumb to close your right nostril.
  3. Inhale through your left nostril for a count of four.
  4. Use your ring finger to close your left nostril and release your thumb from your right nostril.
  5. Exhale through your right nostril for a count of four.
  6. Inhale through your right nostril for a count of four.
  7. Use your thumb to close your right nostril and release your ring finger from your left nostril.
  8. Exhale through your left nostril for a count of four.
  9. Repeat this cycle of inhaling and exhaling through each nostril for five to ten rounds, depending on your comfort level.
  10. When you’re finished, release your hand from your face and take a few deep breaths through both nostrils.

Ending Notes

Alternate Nostril Breathing for Older Adults is a simple yet powerful technique that can provide numerous benefits. By incorporating this practice into your daily routine, you can improve your respiratory function, reduce stress and anxiety, and boost your overall health and well-being.

So why not give it a try? Take a few minutes out of your day to practice ANB and see how it can improve your life.

Interested in other breathing exercises and mindfulness practices to improve your health? Check out our Virtual Services for Stroke, Aging Adults, and Caregivers and get hands on guidance and practice with mindfulness practices like ANB. 

Don’t forget to check out our FREE Mindfulness Workbook which outlines mindfulness, the benefits of a mindfulness practices, and different mindfulness practice you can start today to improve your mental and physical health!


Sources: Indian Journal of Medical Research, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine