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Meditation techniques to stop your mind from wandering

Updated: Feb 23, 2023

Alternate nostril breathing is a technique that derives from an Eastern meditation practice and is linked to pranayama, associated with yoga.

Place your right thumb on your nose, your index and middle fingers in-between your eyebrows and your ring finger on your left nostril. Press the thumb down on the right nostril and breathe out gently through your left nostril. Inhale through the left nostril and then gently close it with your ring finger, before releasing your thumb and exhaling out of the right nostril. Breathe in from the right and exhale. Continue inhaling and exhaling through alternate nostrils, complete 10 rounds in total or until you start to feel a deep sense of calm. (or start to feel dizzy because you've over exerted with the clenching).

Supposedly, breathing in through your left nostril invigorates the right ‘feeling’ hemisphere of the brain. Breathing in through your right nostril invigorates the left ‘thinking’ hemisphere of the brain. Left nostril for calming, right nostril for energising. Interestingly we predominantly breathe through one side of our nose in a cyclical fashion, changing every couple of hours - try placing your finger under your nose now to notice which side is currently more dominant. If you want to find out about the multitude of other benefits of this practise, there is a great website called, which gives more information on these and other techniques.

This next technique derives from a practice called Transcendental Meditation which uses a mantra on which to focus. Mentally speak it out to stop your mind from wandering. Participants are given a unique phrase which amalgamates a sequence of syllables to create words that have no meaning in our language. The purpose of this is that we don’t then visualise any other meaning of the words we are saying but associate them only with our sense of love,  peace or calm.

The mantra may change in different ways. It can get faster or slower, louder or softer, clearer or fainter. Its pronunciation can alter, lengthen or shorten, appear to be distorted, or it may not change at all. In every case, take it as it comes, neither anticipating nor resisting change and without judgement.

Create a word for yourself and then visualise peace, love and calm with it throughout your meditation. Make it your own word. Here are some potential mantras sounds that you could use to form your phrase: eng, em, enga, ema, ieng, iem, ienga, iema, shirim, shiring, kiriz, kiring, hirim.

How do you feel? I'll give you some more in the next blog so you can practise these first!

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