It’s well known that slow and deep breathing is one of the best ways for managing stress because it calms the body and mind.

But did you know that it’s also important to ensure that both nostrils are kept free and open?

This is because aside from breathing in air, we also take in vital energy from the atmosphere that is essential for the healthy functioning of the body.

This energy enters the body through two channels in the right and left nostrils called nadis (Sanskrit, pronounced “naa-dee”).

These channels cannot be seen or found in the physical body but exist at a subtler, energetic level.

Sun-and-moon-yin-yang-circle

The Sun and Moon channels of energy

The channel in the right nostril is called surya nadi (surya = sun), and the channel in the left nostril is called chandra nadi (chandra = moon).

These are two major nadis belonging to an intricate network of thousands of nadis that maintain a healthy flow of energy in the body.

The Sun Channel—Right Nostril, Sympathetic Nervous System

The surya nadi in the right nostril corresponds to the right side of the body. It impacts the functioning of the left brain and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). The SNS prepares the body to meet stressful situations. It:

  • Gives the body a boost of energy and strength by stimulating the secretion of hormones like adrenalin and cortisol.
  • Initiates the release of blood sugar from the liver to make it accessible to be used as energy.
  • Increases the heart rate, breathing and blood pressure.
  • Slows down digestion.
  • Keeps the brain alert and active.
  • Heightens the sense of awareness in the eyes and ears.

The Moon Channel—Left Nostril, Parasympathetic Nervous System
The moon channel in the left nostril corresponds to the left side of the body. It impacts the functioning of the right brain and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The PNS is designed to slow down processes and bring the body back to normal after a stressful situation. It:

  • Lowers heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension.
  • Balances the hormones.
  • Improves sleep
  • Repairs tissues and organs.
  • Aids in digestion and the laying down of nutrients.
  • Promotes healthy excretion.

The energy entering the surya nadi (right nostril) stimulates the body systems just as the sun energizes  us and makes us feel active and alert.

On the other hand, the energy entering the Chandra nadi (left nostril) calms, restores and repairs.

Balancing the flow of this energy is key to vibrant health.

How to keep an open flow of air and energy in both nostrils

By now, you can see the importance of keeping both nostrils open. Problems and imbalances in the body occur when one nostril is chronically blocked.

Regular exercise, especially outdoors, helps tremendously to keep a naturally, open flow in both nostrils.

If you are otherwise healthy, but notice one nostril is usually more congested than the other, here are a couple of simple tricks to open up both nostrils.

The fastest way is to do 1-2 minutes of running on the spot, pulling up your knees to your chest. This really gets the heart pumping and the nostrils open very quickly.

It may sound easy, but it can be challenging for some people, so start with 30 seconds and then work up to 2 minutes if you can. Listen to your body and don’t over exert yourself. Remember, stop when you feel you are breathing freely through both nostrils.

Personally, I like to run up and down the stairs in my home. Any type of short, intense exercise works well.

If running on the spot is not an option for you because of your health or age, then here is a really cool trick.

First, gently blow out any excess mucus from your nose.

To unblock your right nostril, place your right hand on your left armpit for 8-10 minutes.

Unblock right nostril

To unblock your left nostril place your left hand in your right armpit for 8-10 minutes.

Unblock left nostril

 

To unblock your right nostril, take your right hand and place it in the opposite armpit for 8-10 minutes.

To unblock your left nostril, take your left hand and place it in the opposite armpit for 8-10 minutes.

Unblock both nostrils naturally by placing your hands in opposite armpits for 8-10 minutes

Unblock both nostrils

 

To keep both nostrils open, place both hands in opposite armpits for 8-10 minutes.

And that’s it!

Let me know how it goes.

How did these simple tips help you to breathe easier through both nostrils?

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Manisha Melwani

Manisha Melwani is a teacher and the author of, "So You're a Spiritual Being–Now What?" She offers spiritual and wellness solutions for life and stress management. She teaches classes in personal growth, stress management and meditation. She is based in Richmond Hill and Markham, Ontario. Contact her for more information or to have her speak to your group or organization. She also offers private counselling sessions in person or on-line.
Manisha Melwani

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