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Himalayan Yoga Tradition Teacher Training Program

Chronic One Nostril Dominance


By Swami Veda Bharati
It is well known even to the beginning level practitioners of yoga that we breathe with a factor of nostril
dominance. No one, except advanced yogis, breathe with both nostrils with equal force. Otherwise, we are
breathing predominantly with either the left or the right nostril, the active nostril, while the opposite nostril
remains passive.
In a healthy person the nostril dominance changes every one hour and forty-five minutes or so. When we
sleep at night, we turn on the sides with the similar interval as the nostril on the side opposite to the one we
are sleeping on becomes active. So if one is sleeping on left side, the right nostril becomes active.
This has to do with the dominant activity in the left or the right hemisphere of the brain. When the left
hemisphere of the brain is active, the right nostril is active and vice versa. The mechanism for the alteration
in the breath is in the erectile tissue in the upper nostril. For further understanding of this mechanism, please
study Swami Ramas SCIENCE OF BREATH available from ahymsinpublishers@gmail.com
The bjia-word (seed word) for the active nostril is HA, the solar force. The one for the passive nostril is
THA, the lunar force. In Taoist language, HA is for yang and THA is for yin. The Taoist symbol (not being
displayed in this article), illustrates this point and goes into further detail.
The goal of all breath awareness practice is to make the sushumna stream flow whereby the nostril becomes
equally balanced. That is the meaning of the word HA-THA, the popular form of yoga not understood by
many in this way. This is what we teach in our Ashram in Rishikesh.
The prolonged dominance of one nostril is not desirable.
Here is some advice we give about one-nostril dominance. Other teachers may be able to add to it.
Left Nostril Dominance:
People with left nostril dominance suffer from problems like indigestion, lethargy, postponement of decisions
or activity, and in more acute cases, depression and even yet more acute cases, even diabetes.
When we use the word digestion, we are very badly translating the ayurvedic term agni-maandya that is
the fires of the digestive organs dampened which may thwart the ample flow of all juices and hormones
(rasa and srotas). This is one of the causes of diabetes.
The basic grammar of the meditation for these conditions is concentration on the navel center with a mental
diagram of an upward pointing triangle with a red flame centered behind the navel together with a mantra
(that a qualified and authorized mantra initiator gives for this purpose). The mantra should flow with the
breath rising from the navel center red flame.
Similarly, there are meditations to help heal the effects of chronic right nostril dominance
I use the phrase help heal because this is no invitation to cease allopathic treatment. My Master Swami
Rama of the Himalayas is an ideal synthesis of modern science and traditional spirituality.

2006, 20012 Himalayan Yoga Tradition Teacher Training Program, All rights reserved

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Himalayan Yoga Tradition Teacher Training Program

Right Nostril Dominance:


People with right nostril dominance suffer from insomnia or do not get deep sleep and then are overactive in
body, mind or emotions. This may be one reason for chronic fatigue. To change that situation one may try
the following, depending on which nostril is dominant.
Right nostril:
1. Sleep on your right side.
2. Do nadi-shodhana pranayama regularly.
3. Every 2 hours or so, close your right nostril with a finger and breathe with the left nostril for 21 breaths or
even more until the Left nostril becomes little more active.
4. Place a piece of cotton wool in the right nostril and keep it for a few hours.
5. Watch for the over activity of physical level, thought level, emotion level and calm it when you detect it in
self-observation.***
6. Consult with a specialist in ENT to see if there may be a little growth in the erectile tissue, turbinate or in
the sinus canals or some other part of the nose that requires intervention.
7. Without resorting to cotton wool, etc, just concentrate on the left nostril breath during the period of rest
whether sitting, standing or lying on the right side.
Left Nostril:
1. Sleep on left side.
2. Do nadi-shodhana pranayama regularly.
3. Every 2 hours or so, close your left nostril with a finger and breathe with the right nostril for 21 breaths or
even more until the Left nostril becomes little more active.
4. Place a piece of cotton wool in the left nostril and keep it for a few hours.
5. Watch for the over passivity of physical level, thought level, emotion level and calm it when you detect it
in self-observation.
6. Consult with a specialist in ENT to see if there may be a little growth in the erectile tissue, turbinate or in
the sinus canals or some other part of the nose that requires intervention.
7. Without resorting to cotton wool, etc, just concentrate on the right nostril breath during the period of rest
whether sitting, standing or lying on the right side.
For both nostrils: become a yogi and learn to change the dominant side by mental concentration alone.
May your sushumna flow brilliant like the sun ray (sushumnah soorya-rashmih Yajur-veda).

Yours in service of Gurudeva

2006, 20012 Himalayan Yoga Tradition Teacher Training Program, All rights reserved

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