Balancing the brain by using your breath
Did you know you can balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain using your breath?
I’ve mentioned before the power of the breath on the central nervous system. But there is one pranayam that actually helps to both calm you down and bring clarity to your mind.
This is known as Alternate Nostril Breathing or in the ancient indian language Sanskrit, Nadi Shodhana.
Nadi meaning ‘flow’ or ‘channel’
Shodhana meaning ‘purification’
Alternate nostril breathing has many benefits. One of which is balancing the left and right hemisphere of the brain. It relaxes the mind and the energy between the left and right-hand sides (the Ida and Pingala nadis) and is known for its ability to reduce stress.
Now let’s just test something. Block your right nostril with your finger and breath in through the left. Then try the other side ie block your left nostril and breathe through the right nostril. Notice a difference? In a majority of cases, one nostril is always clearer than the other. This changes every 90 minutes to 2hrs. It’s very rare for both nostrils to be clear.
So how does Alternate nostril breathing control your mind? Well, as you may know. The right hemisphere of the brain governs the left side of the body, and your left hemisphere governs your right side of the body.
And if you’ve read my Breathing Better article on the muscles we use for breathing and how breathing taps into the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, you will already know how controlling the breath can both relax and stimulate the body and mind. By breathing through your left nostril you stimulate the right side of the brain, the part of the brain used for things like music intuition and creativity. Your right nostril stimulates the left side of the brain, the side used for things like reasoning and logic.
So here is a video, on how to do Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana).
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