Alternate Nostril Breathing

First let’s review what the Nadis are and then talk about why you would no Alternate Nostril Breathing:

Subtle Body Awareness Anyone?

The Nadis:

An inner energy powers our body and mind, flowing through passageways that branch and intersect like the streets and highways through a city.  There are over 72,000 nadis in our bodies, but we are going to look at the three main nadis.  They govern the body and the mind’s overall functioning and determine the general tone of  your being. These primary channels lie along your spinal column—two channels Ida on the left and Pingala on the right, starting at your root chakra then twining on either side and ending in the nostrils, and the third rising directly through the center of the (spinal) column to the base of the nose. Ida, as it is known, ends in the left nostril, pingala terminates in the right, and sushumna ends at the base of the nose between the two nostrils.

Now let’s talk about Alternate Nostril Breathing also called Nadi Shodhanam:

Breathing practices have a direct effect on the flow of energy in the nadis. Using pranayama (breath work or our life energy force), we can arouse or calm energy to produce inner heat or cooling or to direct it for the restoration of health and for longevity or concentration. But as in so many other practices of yoga, pranayama first focuses on purification. Your goal is to cleanse the nadis of impurities that might otherwise disturb concentration and impede the natural movement of prana.

Nadi shodhanam—channel purification—is the primary practice used to accomplish this. This cleansing practice, also called “alternate nostril breathing,” involves inhaling and exhaling through one nostril at a time. In addition to opening the flow of energy along the nadis, this practice calms, purifies, and strengthens the nervous system and deepens self-awareness—excellent preparation for meditation. Finally, nadi shodhanam leads to su-shumna breathing, the experience of the two streams of breath united in a single central flow.

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The Left and Right Brain and the Nadis

Left Brain Vs Right Brain

Remember being in school and learning about the Right Brain/Left Brain and what they focus on and how they are different. I do, well sort of, there is a lot I have forgotten until I google it and remind myself of what I learned. If you want to review what you might have studied in school, you can read the information below to help familiarize yourself with the functions of the brain. This article also talks about how recent it was that Sperry received a Nobel Peace Award…it was in 1981. That doesn’t seem that long ago to me. We also know that there is a lot we don’t KNOW about the brain.

Why in the world am I talking about the brain? Well I find it interesting that so much of this information is new to us yet the yogis have known many details about the energy body for a long time and there are ancient texts written about these things. The idea of the Nadis appears in the earliest Upanishads (7th-8th century b.c.e) and developed in the later Upanishads from 2nd century c.e and later.

Our Pranic energy moves through channels in our body called Nadis, there are over 72,000 Nadis in our body. The three main Nadis are called Ida Nadi, Pingala Nadi and the Sushumna Nadi. Today I would just like to give you a brief overview of the characteristics of these Nadis:

Sushaumna:
Passes through the spinal column (center)
Originates in Muladhara Chakra (root chakra)
Ends in Ajna Chakra (3rd eye or eyebrow center)
Activated only when the breath comes through both nostrils simultaneously
Can be activated through pranayama
Operates automatically at dawn and dusk, calming the system and making meditation easier

Ida Nadi:
Originates in the left side of the base of the spine and traverses upward in a spiral way reaches the roof of the left nostril
Stimulates the right side of the brain
Feminine in energy
Carries pranic energy
Nourishes and purifies the body and mind
When Sushuman is not working activating this nostril is best way to facilitate meditation
Lunar (moon), cooling
Recommended for Creativity, intuition, healing, inner force and preparing for sleep (I have suggested this to people and many have told me they have had greater success with sleep when activating this side)

Pingala
Starts and ends to the right of the Sushumna
The carrier of the solar, male energy
Adding vitality, physical strength and efficiency
It is purifying like the Ida but cleansing like fire
Stimulates left side of brain
Heating
Activate this nadi for physical activities, debates et

In yoga Nadis are the channels of Kundalini energy.

Here is information that the internet supplies us about the Left and Right Brain…notice how it is saying the same thing as above.
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In general, the left and right hemispheres of our brain process information in different ways. While we have a natural tendency towards one way of thinking, the two sides of our brain work together in our everyday lives. The right brain of the brain focuses on the visual, and processes information in an intuitive and simultaneous way, looking first at the whole picture then the details. The focus of the left brain is verbal, processing information in an analytical and sequential way, looking first at the pieces then putting them together to get the whole.
Left brain thinking is verbal and analytical. Right brain is non-verbal and intuitive, using pictures rather than words. The best illustration of this is to listen to people give directions. The left brain person will say something like “From here, go west three blocks and turn north on Vine Street. Go three or four miles and then turn east onto Broad Street.” The right brain person will sound something like this: “Turn right (pointing right), by the church over there (pointing again). Then you will pass a McDonalds and a Walmart. At the next light, turn right toward the Esso station.”
Workings of Our Brain
<image002.jpg>The human brain is made up of two halves. These halves are commonly called the right brain and left brain, but should more correctly be termed ‘hemispheres’. For some reason, our right and left hemispheres control the ‘opposite’ side of our bodies, so the right hemisphere controls our left side and processes what we see in our left eye while the left hemisphere controls the right side and processes what our right eye sees.
The concept of right brain and left brain thinking developed from the research in the late 1960s of an American psychobiologist Roger W Sperry. He discovered that the human brain has two very different ways of thinking. One (the right brain) is visual and processes information in an intuitive and simultaneous way, looking first at the whole picture then the details. The other (the left brain) is verbal and processes information in an analytical and sequential way, looking first at the pieces then putting them together to get the whole. Sperry was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1981.
So as you know, the human brain consists of the right brain and the left brain. The shapes of these two parts are similar, but differences have been gradually found in their functions. The left brain is also referred to as the digital brain. It controls reading and writing, calculation, and logical thinking. The right brain is referred to as the analog brain. It controls three-dimensional sense, creativity, and artistic senses. These two work together, to allow us to function as humans.