Pranayama techniques have fascinated me. I spend a lot of time throughout my classes introducing or reminding students just how powerful they are. We are able to aid our physical and emotional body through these different techniques. I’ve introduced three part breath and ujjayi breath to my classes, but never ventured out to alternate nostril or one sided nostril breathing. In our deep and powerful breaths, the use of the diaphragm is so crucial to sufficiently oxygenate the blood. It is such a joy to watch as a student learns to breath deeply and fully … connected physically and emotionally.
With nostril breathing, there are opportunities to stimulate the body and calm the body. There are times throughout my day that I need my body to function at a higher capacity. Right nostril breathing allows me to increase my metabolism and help with some digestion. There are times throughout my day that I get frustrated, upset, angry or even down. Left nostril breathing allows me to calm my thought process and slow down my heart rate. Both are equally significant and very much needed. In class we took two cycles of breaths on each side for balance. I am excited to see how these breathing techniques continue to impact my students.
We will introduce alternate nostril breathing next week! Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment :).
Balancing Left and Right
Mental illness is a state of imbalance, so Alternate-Nostril Breathing or Purifying Breath, is a good way to provide balance for the right/left hemispheres of the brain and to increase oxygen to the cerebral tissues, which likely increases blood flow to the brain tissue. Right nostril breathing has a stimulating effect on the body and mind, while left nostril breathing has a calming effect.
If someone is suffering from major depressive episodes, their energy might be expanded with right nostril breathing, in which you inhale through the right nostril and exhale through the left. On the other hand, if you are feeling anxiety, a few extra rounds of left nostril breathing will help.
In Yogic terms, suffering can be explained by an imbalance in energy channels (nadis). As a left nostril breather, there is continual enhancement of lunar, cooling energy channels and an imbalance with the heating, energy channels. The importance of breathing on both the right and left sides of the body, balancing the cooling and heating energies.
“Twenty years of chronic depression lifted like a cloud,” he says. Kevin felt that Right Nostril Breathing would not have been effective if he were still drinking and had not gone through years of traditional psychotherapy. For Kevin, recovering from depression was a multipronged approach, but he believes that learning and practicing Right Nostril Breathing was “the crowning touch.”
BOOK – “Yoga for Depression” by Amy Weintrab