There’s a right and left side of the brain, a left and right side of the body, and a feminine and masculine energy that runs within each of us. We have such conflicting dualities in ourselves, so when we are able to balance both sides of our physical and energetic bodies, we basically feel good.

According to the theory of left-brain or right-brain dominance, each side of the brain controls different types of thinking: the left brain mentality is often said to be more logical, analytical, and objective, whereas a person who is “right-brained” is said to be more intuitive, thoughtful, and subjective.

Energetically, our feminine side corresponds to the left side of the body (right brain) and has to do with our intuition, feelings, openness, and unselfishness while the masculine side which corresponds to the right side of the body (left brain) is characterized by logic, facts, systems, and self-interest.

In most cultures today, people tend to be very ‘go-oriented’ (especially in New York), so the masculine in us is very dominant to the point where our feminine self can easily get crushed, repressed and even fully extinguished.

How do we achieve balance?

Try this breathing exercise, called Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, in order to balance the flow of energy in the left side and right side of the body. It helps purify both masculine and feminine energy channels, and the two hemispheres of the brain. It’s also a great way to unwind and de-stress, and you can do it anywhere. You literally just need your two hands and nostrils!

NADI SHODHANA: ALTERNATING NOSTRIL BREATHING

Nadi means energy channel and Shodhana is to purify, to cleanse, but also means enhancement, betterment. Nadi Shodhana is a Hatha Yoga practice that purifies the nadis through alternate-nostril breathing. The practice balances the flow of energy, or prana, through the ida (the left, moon, or feminine) and pingala (the right, sun, or masculine) nadis, as well as the flow of breath through the right and left nostrils. We start with the left side because the left is the cooling channel (the practice itself creates heat) but also because it’s the feminine side. Starting and ending with left allows us to emphasize the yin aspect of ourselves over the yang.

You can also start on the right side if you want to stimulate your masculine side, the sun energy.

The nasal passage goes just below the front part of your skull and one of the goals of this breathing practice is to stimulate through breath different parts of the brain as the air goes through the sinus cavity.

And here’s how to do it:

Place both of your hands in different “mudras.” A mudra is a symbolic hand gesture used in Hindu and Buddhist traditions.

  1. Place your left hand in Chin mudra (curl the index finger into thumb) and place it on top of your left knee. This connection made by the thumb and index finger is said to create a kind of circuit to re-circulate the body’s vital energy or prana.
  2. Place your right hand in Vishnu Mudra: With your right hand, fold 2nd and 3rd fingers (index & middle fingers) into palm; keep right thumb, ring finger and pinky finger loose.

This mudra allows you to manipulate the nostrils to control the breath through a single nostril at a time.

You want to keep your hand close to the nose so very little movement is needed to close each side.

If you need to use the left hand instead of right then go ahead, but traditionally right hand is associated with giving and left with receiving.

Head of Video: Tina Rosh  DP: Paul Terrie