I wanted to offer this practice that has been so soothing for me and for my students and family. As I surf the wild waves of the season, I am mindful that I have a whole arsenal of tools at my disposal ... it's just being mindful and remembering to use them!
I briefly discuss the concept of subtle energy channels or nadis as they are described in yoga. This breathing practice is working with the Ida (the left channel, often described as cooling, soothing, lunar or feminine aspect) and the Pingala (heating, active, solar or masculine aspect). These two channels run up the center of the energy body, crisscrossing at key points in the Chakra system. In some texts it is said they end at the nostrils (not the forehead/crown as I state in this video) and in others they are described as terminating at the level of the third eye chakra, the left channel merging into the right brain and the right channel merging with the left brain. There is a third channel, the Sushumna, that runs up the entire length of the energy body which does run up through the crown of the head. For anyone wanting more information, there are many good articles.
What is of use is understanding that we want a balance of these two energies. We want access to sun and moon, feminine and masculine, right and left brain function. These two channels represent sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. These two systems make up our autonomic nervous system - in other words, the part of our nervous system that controls involuntary responses such as heart rate, digestion, circulation to name a few. When one aspect dominates, there is imbalance, stress and if left unchecked, illness. A popular analogy is our body is a car and the brake and gas pedal are the autonomic responses. So this breathing practice helps the body and the mind return to a state of balance where we are neither pushing the pedal to the metal nor riding break.
I invite you to try this simple practice out and measures its effects upon the body, mind and breath. I've actually used this practice when having blood drawn to assist blood flow (we say in yoga, where the mind goes, energy and blood flows) and studies have suggested it may positively impact blood pressure. If nothing else, I hope you find it is a welcome pause in a busy day!
For more practices and ideas for slowing down and making time for exquisite self care, visit my ecourse InnerGlow Self Care and learn how you can enjoy a four-week home retreat!