One of the interpretations of “Hatha” is ‘unification of the ‘Ha – Heating’ and the ‘Tha – Cooling’ aspect to bring about the right kind of balance that your body requires. It unifies these two opposing forces to create the ‘Right Equilibrium’ in your body and mind. It further can be manipulated to target only one of these aspects to bring a different kind of balance as and when required by the body due to either your lifestyle or nature.
When summer is at its peak, complaints like feeling lethargic, drained out, throbbing headache, low energy level, migraine etc. are very common. These nagging complaints slow us down. A few minutes of Chandrabhedan practice can resolve these issues most of the time.
In Hatha Yoga, the left nostril is associated with our body’s cooling energies. It corresponds with Ida nadi and is symbolized by the characteristics of the Moon. By activating only your left nostril through Chandrabhedan Pranayama, we imbibe the qualities of the Moon within us. Chandrabhedan is a pranayama but here, we are only discussing the first stage of breathing i.e. without breath retention.
Use right hand – We always use right hand during pranayama practice.
Assume Pranav Mudra i.e. your right index and right middle fingers are folded whereas right thumb, right ring and right little fingers are kept straight.
- Assume any comfortable sitting position
- Your spine has to be neutral and aligned
- Your mind alert and focused on your breathing
- Softly block your right nostril with your right thumb just below the nasal bone
- Inhale softly but deeply from the left nostril, block your left nostril with the ring finger, release the thumb lock on the right nostril and exhale from the right nostril. This is one cycle of Chandrabhedan.
- Block your right nostril again with right thumb, release your lock on the left nostril by removing the right ring finger, inhale from the left nostril again, and block your left nostril with right ring finger, release right thumb from the right nostril and exhale from the right nostril. The previous detailed instruction may sound confusing. Follow the instructions word to word, practice it a few times and then it would be easy to perform.
- The important critical point is to ensure that you only inhale from the left nostril and only exhale from right.
You can also choose to inhale and exhale only from the left nostril by keeping your right nostril blocked. That way only your left nostril is at work. This practice is known as “Chandraabhyas”.
There is no mention of Chandarabhedan in Hathapradipika and Gheranda Samhita. It is believed, however, that the practices and techniques not mentioned in classical texts still form a part of continuing tradition.
- Start with a 30 second practice and gradually increase the duration to 2-3 minutes or more as per your comfort.
- Train yourself gradually to double the ratio of exhalation to inhalation. Please ensure full inhalation and complete exhalation to avoid shallow breathing.
Parasympathetic Nervous Systems
Practicing Chandrabhedan Pranayama activates Parasympathetic Nervous System and calms the brain nerves. Regular practice helps bring stress, tension and anxiety under control. Helps you deal with confusion, reduces the number of thoughts in your mind; lessens the excessive heat in your body.
Has been found effective in case of Insomnia as well
You can feel your headache dissipating in just a few minutes of practice
High Blood Pressure
Goes a long way in controlling high BP
Customize the practice of Chandrabhedan basis the weather. It should be reduced during winter and increased during summer. Also, if your left nostril is predominant most of the time, you may want to minimize the practice of Chandrabhedan Pranayama.
- Chandrabhedan brings cooling effect to the body and the mind. Hence, avoid this practice in case of any problem which has the essence of cold such as asthma, cough, bronchitis etc. especially problems associated with respiratory organs
- Do not practice if you have low blood pressure
- Hatha Yoga warns that if Ida / left nostril is awakened, the mind can turn introvert and the body will become lethargic. Hence one needs to be cautious
- Avoid the practice in case the nostrils are blocked
So just go ahead with your practice and keep your heat under control this summer.
Shammi Gupta, founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an MA in Yoga Shastra, is a certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath, has completed an Advanced Yoga Course and holds a Diploma in Yoga Education from Mumbai University. She is a certified trainer from American College of Sports Medicine and holds an MBA in HR & MBA in Finance from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporate, Yogasana Workshops for Athletes and Yoga Therapy Workshops on different medical issues for patients. Among the celebrities Shammi trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporate world.