"pay attention after your next practice to how your breathing is functioning. Chances are your will be breathing evenly through both nostrils, especially if you practiced the Ashtanga method of asana which encourages balance, alignment, use of bandha, drishti and deep breathing with sound."
Immediately after my practice today, just before I settled into savasana, I checked my breathing, and found that I was indeed breathing quite evenly through both nostrils. The practice--in particular, all those backbends in second series or nadi shodhana--must have helped to even out my breathing. And then, after lying in savasana for five to ten minutes, I checked my breathing again, and found that I had reverted to my usual predominantly right-nostril breathing.
Over the last couple of days, after reading Claudia's post, I have been checking my breathing at random times throughout the day. I've noticed that I am predominantly a right-nostril breather: In four times out of any five times that I check my breathing, I find myself breathing mostly or even entirely through my right nostril. Which really isn't so surprising, come to think of it, given the activities that occupy most of my waking hours (teaching, writing, blogging, thinking about teaching, thinking about writing, and thinking about blogging...). Oh, for your info, here's Claudia's list of activities that are associated with right nostril breathing:
- Physical activity and hard work
- Eating, evacuating the bowels
- Risky and heroic feats, and challenging ventures
- Shatkarma, kunyal rkiya (stomach washing by drinking and vomiting salty water)
- Intellectual study, mathematics
- Buying, selling, commerce
- Presenting in public, addressing an audience
- Opposition, resistance, debating
- Riding horse bikes, or motor cycles, or adrenaline expelling ventures
- For men to attract women
For good measure, let's also take a look at Claudia's list of activities that are associated with left nostril breathing:
- Drinking water or urinating
- Getting out of bed
- Calm and silent work, especially if it requires mental creativity
- Purchasing jewelry
- charity and helping others
- Settling disagreements
- Approaching those in senior positions
- Religious practices, ceremonies, marriage and initiations of any sort
- Mantra practice
- Long journeys
- Meeting a guru
- Sowing seeds
- Anything to do with medicine and treatment of diseases
- Singing, playing, composing or listening to music
- For women, participating in sexual relations
Any thoughts from all of you seasoned Mysore-goers and/or seasoned left-nostril breathers out there?
In other news: It appears that my recent post on Fish & Chips or Ashtanga--which has been popular among foodies and has attracted quite a few in the foodie crowd to this blog--has made it to the list of the ten most read posts on this blog. Not that you'd care, but I find it quite amusing, especially considering the fact that I don't even eat fish and chips now. But to all of you foodies who have stumbled upon this blog: Do not let my non-fish-&-chips-eating ways deter you from eating more fish & chips, and, more importantly, try out Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga :-)
In yet other news: I just read this very engaging post over at Jangalikayamane about some common Ashtanga myths. It's a very informative and compelling read: I highly recommend it. In particular, the post has the following to say about mula bandha:
"No amount of explaining is going to help someone understand the subtlety of mula bandha and yet I hear teachers going on and on about what/how/where to find it.
All the long-time practitioners emphasise its importance but rarely will they spend an hour labouring on how to find it. It seems mula bandha just showed up one day during their practice, long after they gave up searching, and I don’t think it was where they had been told to look."
These are very wise words, especially in light of the recent post I wrote about inhaling through your anus. And I agree: Ultimately, no amount of explaining--including exhorting you to inhale through your anus--is going to help you understand the subtlety of mula bandha. Mula Bandha may show up, when it does, when you are in the midst of breathing through your anus. Or it may not. Whatever it is, don't obsess. If you like the idea of inhaling through your anus, do that. If you don't, do something else. Whatever you do or don't do, chances are mula bandha will find you and shower you in its divine grace one day when you are least expecting it. In the meantime, do your practice, and all is coming.