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Left Nostril Breathing

Left Nostril Breathing (chandra bheda) is a yoga breathing practice (pranayama) in yoga thought to activate the parasympathetic nervous system to calm the mind & produce a relaxation response.

Left Nostril Breathing (chandra bhedana) is a restorative yoga breathing exercise (pranayama) that calms the mind.

MECHANISM OF ACTION Left nostril breathing (chandra bhedana) is a yoga breathing practice (pranayama) thought to calm the mind and produce a relaxation response due to the stimulation of the right hemisphere of the brain and activation of the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS).

Cognition registers in the brain on the opposite side of the nostril breathing practice. Left nostril dominance correlates with: enhanced spatial performance; lower heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate & body temperature; lower levels of cortisol, endorphins & testosterone; increased prolactin secretion; increased interocular pressure (IOP)

INDICATIONS & USAGE Practice chandra bhedana whenever you would like to calm your mind or relax. Chandra bhedana has shown to be beneficial for individuals with anxiety and insomnia.

DOSAGE & ADMINISTRATION Practice up to 10 rounds of chandra bhedana p.r.n. (as needed); prior to meditation or asana practice; or at night prior to bedtime.

CONTRAINDICATIONS Avoid practicing chandra bhedana for an extended period of time if you are experiencing a depressed mood as this practice can magnify the lethargy that often accompanies depression.

PRECAUTIONS/WARNINGS 

  • The safest and easiest way to practice chandra bhedana is to breathe in through the left nostril and slowly out through the right nostril. A variation of this practice is to keep the breath flowing through the left nostril for both the inhalation & exhalation which produces a stronger affect. If you practice this variation, conclude the practice with a few rounds of alternate nostril breathing (nadi shodhana).
  • Chandra bhedana has been shown to help improve mood and symptoms of anxiety. This practice an additional tool for your mental health, not a replacement for current treatment. Do not discontinue any of your medications or other treatments without consulting with your healthcare provider.

PRACTICE CHILLASANA VIDEO LINK: Stay tuned..coming soon to YouTube. Subscribe to our newsletter to get updates.

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RESOURCES

BOOKS

The Principles and Practice of Yoga and Healthcare. Sat Bir Singh Khalsa
Yoga as Medicine. Timothy McCall MD
Yoga for Depression. Amy Weintraub
Yoga Skills for Therapists. Amy Weintraub

 

CLINICAL STUDIES

Telles S at al. Blood pressure & heart rate variability during yoga-based alternate nostril breathing practice and breath awareness. Med Sci Mon Basic Research. 2014. 20 (1) 184-93
Sinha AN et al. Assessment of the effects of pranayama/alternate nostril breathing on the parasympathetic nervous system in young adults. J of Clin & Diagnostic Research. 2013. 7(5): 821-3
Telles S et al. Blood pressure & Purdue pegboard scores in individuals with hypertension after alternate nostril breathing, breath awareness & no intervention. Med Sci Mon. 2013;19:61–66
Telles S et al. Yoga breathing through a particular nostril  is associated with contralateral event-related potential changes. Int J Yoga. 2012. 5(2):102-7
Raghuraj P et al. Immediate effect of specific nostril manipulating yoga breathing practices on autonomic & respiratory variables. Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback. 2008. 33 (2): 65-75
Shanahoff-Khalsa DS et al. Selective unilateral autonomic activation: implications for psychiatry. CNS Spectrums. 2007. 8: 625-34.
Shannahoff-Khalsa D et al. Lateralized rhythms of the central & autonomic nervous systems. Intl Journal of Psychophysiology, (1991) 225-251.
Werntz, DA et al. Alternating cerebral hemispheric activity and the lateralization of autonomic nervous function. Human Neurobiology. 1983. 2: 39-43.

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