If you feel out of balance during the day—on edge, irritable, stressed—you can invite balance back in right at your desk. Because the quality of your breathing is so intimately related to the state of your nervous system, balancing your breath will help you feel calmer and more able to face the stresses ahead.
This breathing exercise can clear the mind and relax you during stressful situation. It works by balancing the amount of air we breathe in through the left nostril with the amount we breathe in through the right. For most of us, one side flows more freely than the other side, but by the end of your practice, you should breathe evenly through both. Here's how to try it:
Sit well back in your chair so that your back is supported. Press your right thumb into the fleshy part of your right nostril until the passage is closed, and slowly inhale through your left nostril. At the top of your inhalation, release your thumb and use your ring and pinkie fingers to close the left nostril. Exhale through the right. Then inhale through the right, and exhale through the left nostril. Continue the cycle for three minutes. Then relax your arms at your sides and breathe evenly through both nostrils, noticing how you feel. As you breath comes in steadily, do you feel steadier in the mind?