Breathing Part 3 - Nose breathing is essential

Sunday, November 12, 2017
Seated Alternate Nostril Breathing

The breath grounds, connects and heals the nervous system and breathing practices should be the first thing prescribed by doctors to all their patients.

Did you know that right nostril breathing (RNB) has a very different and distinct affect on the nervous system than left nostril breathing (LNB) ?

In fact the right nostril is the energizing and heating component of the breath and supports a sympathetic "fight or flight" nervous system response (SNS) in the body. Conversely, the left nostril is the cooling component of the breath and supports a parasympathetic "rest and digestion" nervous system (PNS) response in the body.

In balanced health the dominant nostril that we breath through changes every 90-120 minutes, this is known as our nasal cycle. This cycle is under the  control of our Autonomic Nervous system and regulates a balancing of the PNS and SNS in the body. When we are out of balance this nasal rhythm becomes out of balance and has adverse affects on our mental, physical and emotional health and well-being.

Why is nose breathing so important?

Nose breathing is the correct and most optimal way to breathe for many reasons. Most importanty the nasal passages serve as a moistener, a filter to remove unwanted bacteria, dust and foreign particles and heater to warm the air before it reaches the lungs. Conversely, mouth breathing results in over-breathing, it elevates blood pressure, heart rate, worsens asthma, allergies, sleep apnea and deprives the heart, brain and other organs optimal oxygenation. 

When breathing through our right nostril generalized sympathetic nervous system tonus is experienced, including:

  • right lung dominance
  • increased heart rate
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased respiration rate
  • an activated state
  • increased body temperature
  • increased locomotor activity
  • increased cortisol (stress hormone)
  • increased endorphins
  • reduces prolactic secretion (an important regulator of the immune system)

When breathing through our left nostril generalized para-sympathetic nervous system tonus is experienced, including:

  • left lung dominance
  • decreased heart rate
  • decreased blood pressure
  • decreased respiration rate
  • a more passive, rested state
  • decreased body temperature
  • increased locomotor activity
  • decrease in cortisol (stress hormone)
  • reduced endorphins
  • increased prolactic secretion (an important regulator of the immune system)

There are so many reasons to practice conscious breathing, but in my opinion Alternate Nostril Breathing is the best therapeutic practice for health and self-realization...just ask a few swami's and life long scholared yogi's.

To learn these amazing practices, read Part 4 - Learn alternate nostril breathing

Breathing, Breathing Practices, Diaphragmatic Breathing