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)
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.
- 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.
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