To talk about this we first have to refer to the Nadis. The human body is made of 72,000 Nadis. These are invisible energy channels in the body. However, there are 3 main nadis and these are the Ida, Pingala and Sushumana nadis.
The Ida is said to be connected to our left nostril which is connected to the Moon energy. When we breathe through our left nostril, we are actually using the right side of our brain which is more creative and artistic. The moon energy is also cooling, calmer and positive.
The Pingala Nadi is connected to our right nostril which is connected to the Sun energy and here we are using the left side of our brain which is more analytical and logical. The sun energy is said to be warmer, strong and active.
Sushumana Nadi is when we breathe through both nostrils and in these moments there is a sense of calm energy flow throughout the body because Ida and Pingala are in balance. The practice pranayama is to help activate the Sushumana nadi.
Hence when we practice Surya bedi, we inhale and exhale through the right nostril while in Chandra bedi, we inhale and exhale through the left nostril.
Practice of Surya bhedi:
Surya - Sun Bhedi - awakening / activating.
Sit in a comfortable position, preferably on the ground. With your spine erect, shoulders pulled back and your legs crossed. With the left hand, make the Nasagra mudra, ie. you will use your thumb to close your left nostril, your little finger and ring finger stay curled inside. If you wish, you many rest your index and middle finger on the centre of your forehead or leave it loose the air. Your right hand will remain loose on your knee, palms up or down is up to you in gran mudra. While closing your left nostril, exhale through your right nostril and inhale through the same nostril. Repeat the process of Inhalation and Exhalation at least for 3 minutes. Gradually with practice, you can increase this time.
Please note that the Surya Bhedana shouldn’t be practiced if you are suffering from anxiety or depression or other mental illnesses, if you have a fever, if you have a dominant pitta personality or during the summers.
Benefits of Surya Bhedana:
- It improves blood circulation and purification
- It improves digestion and increases the pitta in the body
- It increases the amount of Oxygen in the blood flow
- It is good to practice this in winter as it increases the heat the body and helps you feel warmer
- If one is feeling sluggish or sleepy, it can take you up and make you more active
- It increases your metabolism
- Helpful whence has cold, cough or asthma
- It aids in recovery of low blood pressure
- It stimulates the Pingalanadi
- It is also useful in treating low blood pressure and infertility in women
- The Hatha YogPradipikasayas that Surya bhedana cleans the frontal sinuses, destroys the disorders of Vata and intestinal worms.
Practice of Chandra Bhedi:
Chandra - Moon Bhedi - awakening / activating.
The practice is the same as the Surya Bhedi but practiced with the right hand on the right nostril. So we inhale and exhale through the left nostril thus activating the Chandra Nadi and the Moon energy.
Please note that Chandra Bhedana should not be practiced if you are suffering from a cold or cough, have heavy sinuses nori winters.
Benefits of Chandra Bhedi:
- it aids in cooling down the system and is advised to be practiced in summers
- It can help reduce High Blood Pressure
- It is good to practice Chandra bed before going to bed as it aids in a sound sleep.
- It is helpful when one has a fever