Left Nostril Breathing
Have you ever
you have two nostrils instead of one big one?
Our body is a
machine operating on positive and negative electrical currents.
the ancient science of Kundalini Yoga we are taught that there are two
energies called Ida and Pingala that intertwine up the sides of the
and that unite to form the Sushmana, the central channel.
energy, on the left,
is the moon energy: reflective, calming, cooling, female.
right is Pingala and has the energy of the sun: bright, fiery,
these systems in
our Western terminology as the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous
systems. The sympathetic system, Pingala, is the fight or
system and charges you up in times of danger. The parasympathetic
system, Ida, slows you down and helps your body automatically run
its day to day jobs of digestion, elimination, sleep cycles and more.
When you need
to calm down,
when your mind is racing faster than a hurricane, or when you can’t go
to sleep, try left nostril (Ida) breathing. Simply take your
hand and, with your fingers outstretched, block off your right nostril
by putting gentle pressure on it with your right thumb. Be sure
keep the rest of your fingers straight and pointing up towards the sky;
the fingers act like antennas for the “cosmic” energy that surrounds us
all. (Alternately, if sticking your fingers up in front of all
friends might not be the most appropriate thing to do, use any finger
block off the side of the nose)
With a long,
slow, deep breath,
gently inhale through your left nostril. Then, just as gently,
long, slowly and completely, again through the left nostril.
your body as you feel the relaxing, cooling breath bringing new life
your body. Relax even deeper with each exhale as you breathe out
all tension, all stress and all disease.
you can use for left nostril breathing. (The key to life is
It is said that God has a hard time hearing your prayers if they aren’t
rhythmic) Try breathing in through the left nostril as described
using different “counts”. Inhale for 4 beats, hold the breath for
4 beats, and exhale for 4 beats. To help you count, use a mantra.
the mantra Sa Ta Na Ma (all have the “ah” sound) as a way to count to
Hold the breath mentally chanting Sa Ta Na Ma again, at the same
And finally, exhale mentally vibrating Sa Ta Na Ma.
The mantra (a
mantra is the
projection (tra) of the mind (man)) Sa Ta Na Ma means I am that
One. Each sound represents a particular aspect of Infinity:
SA is infinity, TA is birth, NA is death, and MA is rebirth.
You can, with
the length of breathing and holding by increasing the repetitions of
mantra. If you want to try an 8 cycle (breathing in 8, hold 8,
8) repeat the Sa Ta Na Ma mantra twice on the inhale, twice on the hold
and twice on the exhale.
of left nostril
breathing are numerous including sharper, clearer focus of the mind,
a deep, full relaxation or sleep. It is said in the Yogic
as taught by Yogi Bhajan, that if a person breathes through the left
for 31 minutes a day for 90 days (the time it takes to plant a new
into the subconscious) they will naturally change their metabolism in
of relaxation and weight loss.
Be sure to compare this with right nostril breathing and alternate nostril breathing.
As with any
meditation I will
teach here, feel free to start with a shorter practice time and slowly,
as your tolerance and confidence increase, you can build up the amount
of time you practice. With Kundalini Yoga meditations a good
time is 3 minutes
© The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan