As we start to focus on the breath, Prana – our vital life force, we’re drawn to the subtle aspects of ourselves. Breathing through the right and left nostrils, Ida and Pingala Nadi, have profound affects on our energy and mind state which fluctuates throughout the day.
A Nadi is an energy channel. There are many in the body and the gross form of the Nadis are the arteries, veins and the nervous system. Ida Nadi is found through our left nostril, affecting the right brain and flowing in a spiral from the root (1st) to the third eye (6th) chakra. It is represented by these qualities: lunar (moon), feminine, inspiration, vision, calming, sensitive, emotional, receptive, creative, passive, cooling. Pingala Nadi flows through the same chakras through the right nostril and affects the left brain. It’s qualities are: solar (masculine), motivation, drive, determination, knowledge, perception, rational, active, heating. Thus, each person has the qualities of Yin/ Yang, Shiva / Shakti, Sun / Moon, masculine / feminine which call for balance.
Throughout the day our breath fluctuates from right to left nostril at different times of the day. To manipulate these channels to our benefit, try laying on the left side in the morning and breath deeply through the right nostril (Pingala) to energize yourself for the day. At night lay on your right and breath through the left (Ida) to relax. Or take a few deep breaths through the corresponding Nadi when you want to evoke a certain mind state.
For an optimum state of being, try Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (alternate nostril breathing) to open both passages equally. When both are flowing freely and our chakras are in a clear state, we open a third channel called Sushumna Nadi, allowing for full awakening of consciousness. When Kundalini (dormant energy at the base of the root chakra) rises, it is meant to travel through this Nadi and lead to awakening / self-realization.