The Atlantic

How Alternate-Nostril Breathing Works

For the anxiety of letting the world down, a grounding technique
Source: Matthias Tunger / Getty

When I came to the part in Hillary Clinton’s new book where she describes how she treated her anxiety with a practice called alternate-nostril breathing, I thought, that sounds impossible. I tried breathing through only one nostril at a time. I couldn’t do it.

Then I read a little further and saw that she recommends using her fingers to cover one nostril. Got it. Okay, that makes it much easier.

Clinton demonstrated the technique last Wednesday in an interview with Anderson Cooper on . She doubled down on her enthusiasm, suggesting that it’s best done sitting: “Off I went into a frenzy of closet-cleaning, and long walks in the woods, and playing with my dogs, and ... yoga—alternate-nostril breathing, which I highly recommend—trying to calm myself down.”

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