Alternate nostril breathing explained & the cleansing breath meditation

Did you know that most of the time we are only breathing through one nostril? One nostril opens for a certain amount of time and then the other, this alternates approximately every one hour and twenty minutes. It’s a way of systematically regulating the brain and the nervous system by channelling prana (life force) into the body via each nostril.

When we breathe through the left nostril, we are connecting to the right hemisphere of the brain, creating a calming, relaxing effect in the body, integrating unwanted negative emotions and easing stress and tension (excellent to do before bed). When we breathe through the right nostril, we are connecting to the left hemisphere of the brain bringing clarity and focus and a positive mood (great for when feeling sleepy and we need to wake up and take action).

The left and right nostril channels meet at a point between the eyebrows. At this same point, another energy channel also meets. This channel is the central channel (called sushumna nadi) that runs up the centre of the body. When we make both left and right nostrils active through alternate nostril breathing, this central channel is activated. When this happens, our mental and physical energy becomes even and rhythmic, thoughts are stilled and the mind becomes calm. We connect to spirit.

Nadi Cleansing breath meditation. 

This meditation is perfect for creating a sense of total internal balance. I also love it as it gives me great clarity and focus, combined with a super-chilled calm overall sensation. It creates a powerful purifying and cleansing effect in the body. Breath suspension is used in this practice. On a suspended breath you can experience deep meditative stillness. Long-term, suspending the breath in your yoga/meditation practice gradually reconditions the nervous system. The practice of breath suspension on the inhale, as in this meditation, impacts the sympathetic nervous system, teaching the body to remain calm in a fight-or-flight or high stress situation.



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