Equilibrating Breath

Equilibrium

Around the spinal cord, yogis say we have two big nerve channels, ida and pingala. Ida begins and ends at the left side of our spine and is related to a cool, lunar, feminine energy. Pingala begins and ends at the right side of the spine and is related to a hot, solar, masculine energy. Those channels correspond to the two branches of the autonomous nervous system: ida is the parasympathetic branch that promotes inactivity and relaxation (vagal nerve) and pingala is the sympathetic branch that sustains dynamic activity and alertness. A study on unilateral nostril breathing showed that when we breath in only from the left nostril, the parasympathetic system is more active and the heart beat slows down. When we breath in only from the right nostril the sympathetic system is more active and the heart beat speeds up. Therefore, if we alternate nostrils while breathing we manage to equalize the activity of those systems and attain a neutral state that arises upon equilibrium of both energies in the body.

Stay balanced throughout the day

One of the most important and most known pranayama is the alternate nostril breathing or Nadi Sodhana. This pattern of breathing is recommended to do three times daily, morning, midday and evening, in order to consistently reset the autonomic function and keep balance throughout the day.

Before practicing the pranayama it is recommendable to readjust the spine, so that you sit straight and that you create the proper space for the lungs to expand and the fluids to circulate. In this video you will find three short exercises to readjust the spine, followed by the alternative nostril breathing technique.

Sat Nam.

Kallia Apazoglou, Ph.D.

Kallia has studied Biology, and through a PhD in Fundamental Neurosciences reached the field of Cognitive Neurosciences and the interplay between emotion and cognition in the University of Geneva. Her latest work addresses the relation of the activity of the vagus nerve with the ability to regulate emotional states. In parallel, she has been trained on the Kundalini Yoga system and philosophy and is very interested in providing scientific evidence on the mechanisms through which such exercises can promote health and mental well-being.