Left/right breathing is a powerful yogic practice. As we age, so does our anxiety, so having tools to calm the mind and body are extremely beneficial. In addition to balancing both hemispheres of the brain, this practice balances both the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system.
Breathing through different nostrils has different effects:
Right-nostril breathing: Stimulates the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight), stimulates the left brain, increases verbal performance, increases blood sugar, increases blinking, decreases intraocular (eye) pressure, increases heart rate, and inflates the right lung.
Left-nostril breathing:Stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation), stimulates the right brain, increases spatial performance, lowers blood sugar, reduces blinking, increases intraocular pressure, decreases heart rate, and inflates the left lung.
Yoga masters believe the breath should flow evenly through both nostrils during meditation. This is why alternate nostril breathing precedes meditation in most yoga and meditation classes.
Not feeling balanced or feeling stressed? Try alternating your breath through both nostrils and see if it makes a difference in how you feel.
The herb, lavender (lavandula angustifolia), has a variety of uses. Lavender oil can be used topically (rubbed on skin), aromatically (inhaled or diffused), and some forms of lavender can be used internally in cooking or in beverages. Be sure to use a food grade, pure therapeutic grade oil, or certified therapeutic grade oil before ingesting to avoid possible additives.
When oils are used topically, they should be diluted, 1 drop of oil per teaspoon of carrier oil is a general rule of thumb. Effective carrier oils are olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil. Sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, and argan oil are wonderful for topical dilution and radiant skin. Dilution prevents skin sensitivity and helps with proper absorption and prolonged effectiveness.
Here are a few tips on how to use lavender in daily life:
Add a few drops to the bottoms of your feet or along your spine at bedtime.
Apply to bug bites and hives to help soothe itching.
Place a few drops of diluted lavender under each nostril for runny noses.
Inhale or apply to temples and back of neck for relief from migraine and headache symptoms.
Keep a bottle of Lavender on hand to soothe occasional scrapes and sunburn.
Put a few drops in a small spray bottle, add water, and use as a room spray or spray into hands to inhale for calming.
Deb’s After-sun spray recipe: This combination of oils and aloe will provide cool relief after a day of fun in the sun!
Materials: 4 oz glass spray bottle, lavender oil, peppermint oil, frankincense oil, melaleuca (tea tree oil), eucalyptus, aloe gel (Note: always use pure oils) (drops are measured directly from the bottle in this recipe)
25 drops lavender oil
25 drops peppermint oil
20 drops eucalyptus oil
5 drops frankincense oil
5 drops melaleuca (tea tree oil)
Small squirt of aloe gel
Fill the rest of the container with water and shake! This spray can be used every 4-6 hours. Avoid direct contact with eyes, nose, and other sensitive areas. Shake before each use.
References: The essential life. (2017). A Simple Guide to Living the Wellness LIfestyle. (4th ed.). Total Wellness Publishing
Deb Walczyk is a wife and mother of two energetic boys and one energetic dog. She teaches STEM to young children and enjoys learning all about the science behind essential oils. Deb is currently completing her MSEd in STEM instruction and in her free time she loves to meditate, do yoga, and share her passion about essential oils with others. You can join her facebook group Our Balanced Journey to find out more about Deb’s journey back to health.
OM or AUM is the imperishable, primordial sound which has always been in our past. It is in our present and will be there in our future. The three elements of AUM refer to the different states of consciousnesses which are waking, dreaming, and dreamless. The silence followed by OM chanting (also called Akasha) can take us into the fourth superconscious state.
Chanting OM is like speaking a universal language. It is believed that the entire cosmos was built with the OM (sound). When we chant OM we merge with the supreme self, like rivers flowing toward the ocean.
Experiments by Hans Jenny, a Swiss scientist, proved that when OM is chanted, Sri Yantra (a geometrical representation) is formed in our surroundings. This represents the sacred sounds of the universe and helps us to connect to universal consciousness.
A few more benefits of chanting OM:
-It balances the three energies in us, creation~preservation~transformation.
-It is used in starting mantras (sacred sound vibrations) for auspicious beginnings.
-Many psychiatric problems are cured by chanting OM daily.
Chanting Om reduces stress and related problems, improves heart health and concentration.
Sunita is a certified Integral Yoga and Children’s Yoga Instructor. Inspired by her grandfather, Sunita started practicing yoga over a decade ago. A volunteering opportunity through a friend got her into teaching yoga. She has taught at various places in New Jersey including after-school yoga at a township public school. Sunita finds balance & peace in life through her yoga practice. She is associated with Hindi USA and teaches Hindi in her township. In her free time she enjoys listening to, and learning music.