The right nostril connects to Pingala Nadi, which represents the masculine or yang energy in our bodies and controls light and heat. The right nostril activates the left side of our brain, which is our logical, analytical side.
Surya Bhedana increases heat in the body, which is great for the cooler months. Heat burns away impurities and removes kapha (wet, cold) from the body, while aiding metabolic processes and improving digestion.
This breath is helpful in times of low energy or even depression.
Ida Nadi is the feminine or yin energy that is paired with Pingala Nadi, and maintaining a balance between the two nadis helps prana travel freely through the body.
How to practice Surya Bhedana Pranayama:
- Begin with deep breathing in a comfortable upright seated position
- When you are ready to practice, take Vishnu Mudra with the right hand by curling the index and middle fingers down and leaving the thumb, ring finger and little finger free.
- Use the ring finger to gently close the left nostril, taking care not to push the finger on the nose, but rather place the pad of the finger in the groove of the nose underneath the nasal bone, where the finger can sit and still block the nostril without pressure. This helps maintain the health of the nasal hairs, or vibrissae, and cilia, which protect the nasal passage.
- WIth the left nostril gently closed, breathe in through the right nostril.
- In the same way you gently closed the left nostril, use the thumb to close the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril. This is one round.
- Repeat. Close the left nostril and inhale through the right. Close the right nostril and exhale through the left.
- Continue for a few minutes. For beginners, it is recommended to use Saṃa Vṛtti or equal ratios between inhalation, retention and exhalation. Kumbhaka or retention of the inhalation can also be excluded for beginners. As you become more advanced, you may like to extend the retention and the exhalations.
- If you have excess heat in your body, refrain from practicing Surya Bhedana and instead practice left nostril breathing, Chandra Bhedana.
- Those who have had recent surgeries, illnesses or disease should consult a doctor.