Dr Rudolph Ballantine, from Radical Healing

Your own internal energy system might be compared to a jungle gym.  Like a large framework on which you can wing and sit, drop and climb, it provides a sort of subtle structure where your playful explorations can illuminate the connections between thoughts, emotions, energy and bodily functions.  The ancient Vedic description of this system highlights the seven vortices or foci of maximal energy.  Most of the great cultures of this planet have described this inner space in nearly identical terms.  The Tree of Life in the Kabbalah, as commonly pictured, even looks like a piece of playground equipment!  The emphasis on play here is not gratuitous.  One must resolve the fear and survival angst that are barriers to a playful attitude in order to be able to access this inner world.  Once that begins, however, discovery follows discovery and one soon learns that attending to the flow of energy and allowing it to move more freely can have astonishing effects on consciousness as well as on physical health.

If you’d like to learn about the relationship between breath and energy, reading about it is not the best way.  The field of study is close at hand.  Close your eyes for a moment, concentrate on the sensation of air moving through your nostrils, and see if you can tell which of the two is more open.  If not, use your fingers to close one and then the other so you can compare.  Once you’ve established which side is more open, turn your attention inside again to see if one side of your body feels more alive, is easier to tune into, experiences more vivid sensations.  If so, is that the side with the open nostril?  Are you feeling quieter and more reflective, or eager for action?

What psychophysiologists have recently observed about right and left brain functions, yogis had already formulated two thousand years ago.  They also specified how it relates to your breathing.  (the right nostril) is called the “sun” or active breath, and as it brings into play the left brain, it gears you to act assertively in the world.  It also prepares your body to carry out its more active physiologic processes – eating, digesting, etc. Breathing through the left nostril, by contrast, is traditionally associated with the moon (and the right brain), and creates an open and intuitive state, appropriate when “entering an order of life (monastery), in amassing wealth, in marriage”, but also for artistic pursuits, singing, playing upon instruments.  The theme is receptivity; it is best to breathe through the left nostril when “establishing relations with one’s people,” and even “when the rain is coming”.  This concept goes beyond “nonlinear thinking” though it includes that.  It’s a matter of settling in, receiving and integrating something new.

Contact: Lynn Fraser  stillpointyoga.ca@gmail.com