According to the book Healing With Love by Leonard Laskow, M.D., negative emotions “seem to reside in the right hemisphere of the brain, while positive ones are focused in the left side.” To balance your emotions, you can do alternate nostril breathing or pranayama. According to Laskow, pranayama will cause the consciousness to shift into the “transpersonal dimension.”
Your illusion of separateness will disappear. Normally, the dominance of one brain hemisphere makes us feel alienated from our source. This illusion of separateness eventually leads to illness. He also writes about our emotions and feelings creating energy forms which attract others that are similar. Thus we draw to us circumstances and individuals that resonate with our emotions. This is how we create our own reality.
It’s no surprise then that pranayama is known to alleviate depression, anxiety disorders, and negative emotions. In research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience in India, up to 73 percent of participants with depression showed significant improvement through this yogic practice.
In addition, the extra oxygen is calming and relaxing and will keep you in good health as well as improve your skin.
The term “pranayama” means “life-force control.” It is a powerful tool for purifying mind and body and raising your energy level. Basic pranayama is easy to do. The advanced techniques require professional guidance.
- Sit up straight in a chair with a straight back to help support your spine.
- Use your thumb and middle finger for the exercise.
- Place your middle finger on one nostril. Inhale to the count of 12 through the other nostril.
- Pinch the nostril shut with the thumb. Hold the breath for 20 counts.
- Lift your middle finger from the other nostril and exhale through it to the count of 12.
- Next, inhale from the nostril through which you exhaled. Pinch it shut with the same finger, hold the breath for 20 counts. Then lift the thumb from the other nostril and exhale to the count of 12.
- Do this 10 times, alternating between the nostrils.
- Next, using the same fingers and timing counts, inhale through one nostril and exhale through the other 10 times. Repeat with the other nostril 10 times.
- Next, inhale and exhale through the same nostril 10 times using the same timing counts. Repeat with the other nostril.
Note: Avoid doing pranayama under a fan at high speed. The best times for this exercise are early in the morning and at sunset. Watch which nostril is easier to breathe through. If it’s the right, it means your left logical brain is active; if it’s the left nostril, your creative right brain is ready for some creativity.
When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady.
But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still,
and the yogi achieves long life. Therefore, one should
learn to control the breath.
– Svatmarama, Hatha Yoga Pradipika