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Yoga & Tai Chi/Alternate nostril breathing


I was just reading about the benefits of alternate nostril breathing. I though both nostrils were connected to the lungs. How does the body know which nostril filled the lungs with air and why does that matter? Also why is the thumb used to pinch off the right nostril while the ring finger is used to close the left?

The technology behind alternate nostril breathing is that the left side of the body is the moon  side or passive, yin, female etc.  The right side is the sun, active, yang, male energetic, etc.  Breathing through the respective sides actives the energies of that nostril.  For instance, it is better to sleep on the right side of the body so the left nostril is higher than the right and is therefore dominant.  The left side is more relaxing so it is easier to go to sleep.  If you want more energy, then breathe out of the right nostril.  Alternate nostril breathing balances both sides.

I usually pinch my baby finger (mercury) finger when alternate nostril breathing.  Yogi Bhajan taught his students to do the same.  The thumb represents the ego and the mercury finger represents communication.

Sat Nam

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GB Khalsa


I can answer questions concerning Kundalini Yoga including the postures, Kriyas, breathing and meditation.


over 30 years

Certified Kundalini Yoga instructor.


Awards and Honors
Placed third in the "Kundalini Yoga Olympics" overall and won 3 out of 5 events. Note: Yoga is not about competition but this was a special event.

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