Your breathing affects your state of mind and bodily functions like sleep and digestion.

Here is an instant experiment. Put your index finger under your nose. Is breath in one of the nostrils more dominant than the other? Most likely, the answer to this question will be a yes.

Now, watch an informative video on a topic you don’t know much about. If your left nostril is active, you are less likely to process all the information in the video – you will register half of it and skip the other half. But if your right nostril is active, you will be more likely to understand everything better.

How does this happen? Sometimes, we can grasp things better, and sometimes not. Similarly, the same meal could make us bloated and at other times not. The secret lies in the link between the body-mind complex and the breath: the subtle energy channel called Nadi.

The secret of Nadis or energy channels

Our body comprises millions of Nadis or subtle energy channels. However, there are two main Nadis – one is the Ida Nadi that runs through the left part of the body. When the breath is more dominant in the left nostril, Ida is said to be active. When the breath is more dominant in the right nostril, Pingala Nadi which runs through the right part of the body is said to be active. 

“Different activities are allocated to these nadis. Elimination, digestion, and sleep happen better when the right nostril is functioning – the right Nadi is active,” says Gurudev. Let us understand the left and right Nadi better.

Right Nadi or Pingala Nadi

1. Right Nadi or Pingala Nadi

Your right nostril activity indicates the activity of your right Nadi, which is also known as the Pingala Nadi. This Nadi is linked with left brain activity. The left brain is the logical part of the brain. Think mathematics, linear thinking, and facts. You can attribute all of it to the right brain. When breathing through your right nostril happens smoothly, you are more alert, conscious and logical. However, when the right Nadi is not smoothly functioning or is blocked, one will experience heat, quick temper, and irritation, itching body, dry skin and throat, excessive appetite, excessive physical or sexual energy, and blocked right nostril.

2. Left Nadi or Ida Nadi

Your left nostril activity indicates the activity of your left Nadi which is also known as the Ida Nadi. This Nadi is linked with right brain activity, which involves emotions, intuition, and visual thinking. When breathing through your left nostril happens smoothly, you are artistic and have a healthy imagination. When Ida is not functioning smoothly or is blocked, one experiences cold, depression, low mental energy, and sluggish digestion. 

3. Sushumna Nadi

When breath from both nostrils flows smoothly, the central Nadi or the Sushumna Nadi is activated. That is when meditation or prayer happens. Whenever you go near a place of worship, be it a temple, mosque, or church, this Nadi gets activated.

Breathing hacks for sleep, digestion, bowel movement & stress

Pingala, Ida, and Sushumna affect the way you think, eat and sleep. For instance, if you eat when your left nostril is functioning, there are more chances of you falling sick. The good news is that there are proven Nadi hacks that can help you sleep, digest, and clear your bowels better. 

Breathing hacks for sleep, digestion, bowel movement & stress

Digestion

Always eat when your right nadi (right Nadi) is active. If your left nostril (left Nadi) is functioning and you are hungry, chances are that your body needs water more than food. So drink some. And wait for half an hour, as your right nadi will likely get active within that time.

Sleep

When your right nostril is active while you sleep, you are more likely to enjoy a sound sleep. To activate your right nostril while sleeping, just turn to your left side and sleep.

Bowel movement

If you go to the washroom with an active right nostril, you are more likely to enjoy a clear bowel movement. If you go to the washroom when your left nostril is active, you will not be able to relieve yourself to your satisfaction. To activate your right nostril (right Nadi), keep your hand under the left armpit and press it.

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Stress, anxiety, & overthinking

If you are experiencing any of the above, practice Nadi Shodhan – a simple breathing exercise that balances both Nadis and helps clear the blockages in both Ida and Pingala. When your stress and anxiety reduce, your digestion and sleep improve naturally.