It is often noted that breath is intimately connected with the mind. When we are upset, our breathing is disturbed, and when we are relaxed, so is our breath. There are many breathing exercises, Buddhist and non-Buddhist. The following is a simple cleansing exercise which is used in the practice of Buddhism, especially in the Yoga of the Inner Heat.
The 9-cycle Cleansing Breath
Sitting as described here, interlace the fingers of your two hands, leaving the index fingers free. Then:
- Close the left nostril by laying the left index finger alongside the nose.
- Take a deep breath through the right nostril.
- Exhale through the left nostril.
- Close the right nostril by laying the right index finger alongside the nose.
- Take a deep breath through the left nostril.
- Exhale through the right nostril.
- Repeat this cycle of alternating breaths (1-6) three times
- Take a deep breath through both nostrils
- Exhale through both nostrils
- Repeat this balanced breath (8-9) three times, thus taking nine breaths in all