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Your nose knows how to help you sleep or feel more energized

JoyFull Living by Louise Lavergne
First published in the Jacksonville Review June 2010
Your nose knows how to help you sleep or feel more energized

The left nostril connects to right side of the brain, which induces relaxation while the right nostril is connected to the left side of the brain; the more energizing side. If you are having problems sleeping, or getting back to sleep, chances are your left nostril is clogged.

Here is a great yoga breathing technique you can use to help you get to sleep or back to sleep if you wake up in the night. It is also useful to practice when ever you feel stresses. I suggest you select a minimum of three nights a week to schedule this practice for one to three minutes before going to sleep and see what happens.

Practicing Left Nostril Breathing:

  • Make a fist with your right hand. Extend the index finger to block right nostril.
  • Inhale through the left nostril, breaking the breath into eight equal sniffs, filling the lungs completely on the eight. Expand the abdomen. (Be aware not to take in too much air on the first sniffs.)
  • Exhale in one long, smooth stroke pulling in the abdomen.
  • Left hand is relaxed in your lap and you can have the thumb and index touching (Gyan Mudra).  This acts as a trigger to send a message to the body to relax.

Keep your spine straight, feel the crown of the head reaching to the sky and the tailbone down towards the ground. Chin is tucked in slightly (as if you were saluting)

Make sure your legs are uncrossed with both feet firmly on the ground. Focus eyes at the tip of the nose if possible.

Benefits include:

  • Immediately calms the body and mind.
  • Helps you stay focus on the breath when you feel agitated, unable to still the mind.
  • Enhances concentration.
  • Diffuses tension, anxiety and gives a sense of deep relaxation.
  • Dispels insomnia to help you sleep.


Right Nostril: Energizing

Use this technique before a meeting to feel alert and mentally clear.

Practicing Right Nostril Breathing:

  • Use your left thumb to block left nostril while extending the rest of your fingers toward the ceiling.
  • Right hand is relaxed in your lap and you can have the tip of the ring finger at the base of thumb, with thumb gently pressing on it. (Surya Mudra). 

Keep your spine straight, sitting the same way you did with Left Nostril breathing.

Benefits include:

  • Improves concentration- helps you feel more mentally alert.
  • Improves the efficiency of your digestive system especially if you use Surya Mudra.
  • Increases the efficiency of your nervous system, especially the sympathetic nervous system.
  • Boosts vitality.

Practice Left nostril then Right nostril breathing for one to three minutes each side, to feel balanced and more present. Presence is a gift you give to yourself, moment by moment.

 Remember to take time to Breathe. © Louise Lavergne 2001-2010; 899-0707 Louise is the owner of JoyFull Yoga LLC in Jacksonville where she offers group and private sessions. She is the yoga provider for Triune Integrative Medicine in Medford where she works with patients of Dr. Robin Miller.  She is also a Motivational speaker.  She has been practicing and teaching yoga and meditation for over 25 years.

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