Yoga – it’s all about balance right?
It’s not about fixing your life but finding the tools to help you navigate through it’s complexities.
So let’s have a little chat about two types of energies we call Shiva and Shakti… or to put it simply the masculine and the feminine.
Shiva, or male energy is symbolised with the sun, it governs the right ride of the body along the energy channel known as the Pingala Nadi.
Shakti, or female energy is represented by the moon, it governs the left side of the body along the energy channel called the Ida Nadi.
(This is going to sound very stereotypical but I didn’t come up with this so stick with me…) logic, planning and structure fall under the masculine and intuition, receptivity, dreams and emotion fall under the feminine.
Whether you are male and female you are both masculine and feminine – these aspects are in all of us. Sometimes however they become out of balance. Too much masculine and you play victim to ego, temper, stress and too much feminine you can fall so deeply into your emotions that you lose all sense of who you are.
Luckily, yoga helps to balance these two sides, placing the body and mind in equilibrium across a central channel called Shushumna Nadi that provides us with a clear and joyful mind for self-realisation.
When we are feeling too much one way or the other we can turn to yoga to balance these two aspects out – alternative nostril breathing or Nadi Shodhana is a great way to do this – the breath literally travels through one Nadi to the next.
Nadi Shodhana brings balance to both the right and left hemispheres of the brain, reduces anxiety and stress, lowers heart rate to relieve tension, revitalises a tired mind and body, and purifies the body’s energy channels, so that prana, or life force energy, can travel more easily (as discussed) t also regulates the cooling and warming cycles of the body.
So why not give this little breathing practice a go at home? Follow these instructions and see where it can take you.
I like to place some natural oils on my hand before doing this practice – I find having a scent to breathe in helps me focus because meditation and pranyama (breath practice) is not something that comes naturally – I am really all about the asana! If you think you are the same maybe try mixing some wild orange and peppermint oils (I recommend DoTerra) together on your hands – just a few drops, and rub them in before you start.
A guide to Nadi Shodhana
Sitting comfortably, either cross legged or kneeling, take your index finger and middle finger of your right hand to your forehead.
You can place the left hand on the right elbow for support if you wish, or on your lap.
Using the right thumb, softly close the right nostril, and inhale as slowly as you can through the left nostril, then close the left nostril with your ring finger. Pause.
Open the right nostril and exhale slowly out.
With the right nostril open, inhale slowly, then close it with the thumb. Pause.
Open and exhale through the left nostril.
Once your exhalation is complete, inhale through the left. Pause before moving to the right.
Repeat this pattern five to ten times, and then release the right hand to the right knee.
Ease back into normal breathing.