Thursday, June 23, 2011
Breathing Project 4: Balancing Your Halves
I have enjoyed sharing with all of you this Breathing Project at "Peace and Health, and have heard from a number of you about being more aware of the importance of breathing consciously. To review, we have cultivated Awareness, Raising Our Energy, Smoothing Out the Kinks, and now we'll Balance Our Halves.
Balance in Mind and Body
We're now at Step 4, where we will bring the two halves of ourselves into balance and harmony. Each of us has duality, the good and bad selves, the happy and sad selves, the patient and stressed selves. Today's breath is called Alternate Nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana in Sanskrit, meaning to "purify the nadis" or energy passageways. Nadi means "little river"). It's a breath for clarity in mind, and balance in body.
You will find a number of excellent videos showing Alternate Nostril breathing on YouTube.
How To Do This Breath
Sit in a comfortable upright position with your spine tall and yet relaxed, with eyes gently closed. You will use the right hand to close each nostril as follows: Close the left nostril with the ring and pinky fingers of your right hand and breath in through your right nostril. Close your right nostril with the thumb of your right hand and exhale through your left nostril. Inhale through your left nostril. Close your left nostril with the ring and pinky fingers again and exhale through your right nostril. You toggle back and forth from nostril to nostril, in and out. Your breaths can be long and smooth, breathing fully in and out.
If you want to go further, here is an introduction to Kundalini yoga. Breathing in through the right nostril, which is the warm sun or masculine channel, imagine the breath coming up from the base of the spine on the right side to the top of your head. Exhale down the left side, which is the feminine or cooling moon side, of the spine back to the base of the spine. Inhaling and exhaling, trace your breath up and down the spine on either side, activating the warmth of the sun on the right and the coolness of the moon on the left. In Kundalini yoga, at the base of the spine is a coiled serpent who is awakened and enervates your "little rivers" of energy. As you do this breathing pattern, your breathing eventually synthesizes from at first tracing up and down each side of the spine to finally flowing up and down the center of the spine. This is the harmony you will enjoy as you spend time in the Alternate Nostril breathing.
As always, I enjoy hearing of your experiences trying these breathing patterns. This one is very old, and effective. Don't forget to "drop by" for a FREE GIFT from the Peace and Health Cafe!