Our bodies are composed of positively and negatively charged electrical currents or energetic pathways also referred to as nadis. The following two nadis are situated along the spinal cord. On the left, is the Ida Nadi which correlates with the parasympathetic nervous system. It is a negatively charged energy current associated with lunar energy, femininity, intuition, sensitivity, nurturing and controls all mental processes. On the right, is the Pingala Nadi which correlates with the sympathetic nervous system. It is a positively charged energy current associated with solar energy, masculinity, vitality, alertness, willpower and controls vital somatic processes (voluntary and reflex movements of our muscles and organs).
We can use this information to control our energy and mood through our breath through techniques called pranayama. By isolating our breath though one nostril we can impact the Ida and Pingala Nadis as needed. In Kundalini Yoga we refer to this as lunar breathing and solar breathing.
Sit in easy pose (cross-legged), make a fist with the right hand and release the index finger. Place it on the right nostril to close off the air flow. Bend the left elbow and raise the left hand like you are going to take an oath. Place the fingers in Ravi Mudra (touch the tip of the ring finger to the tip of the thumb). Do Breath of Fire out of the left nostril for three minutes. To finish, inhale and hold the breath. Cross the fingers of both hands four inches in front of your face with your palms facing you. Try to pull the fingers apart creating tension. When you can no longer hold your breath, exhale and repeat two more times. This process boosts your immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells. It heals the emotional body and helps to release feelings of insecurity, shame, anger, fear and guilt. This breath also helps to deal with sorrow, depression, and pain. It can be done anywhere at any time.
Sit in easy pose (cross-legged), place the thumb of your left hand on your left nostril with the four fingers pointing straight up. Place your right hand on top of your right knee in Gyan Mudra (touch the tip of you index finger to the tip of your thumb). Do Breath of Fire for three minutes. To finish, inhale. Hold the breath briefly, and exhale. Sit for a few moments to allow the energy to circulate. This breath increases energy, enthusiasm and helps you be more extroverted. It aids in digestion and helps to keep body weight down. It also brings clarity of thought and helps you to be more analytical and action-oriented.
Which breath did you choose?