Breathing – Basic Lessons Nobody Should Miss!


This article is for all those people who want to learn about natural remedies to deal with day to day health problems. In this article we’re also going to specially highlight how the practise of Pranaayam can bring relief from headache.

The fact that breathing can have a huge influence on our physical, emotional, and spiritual health cannot be emphasized enough; the same has been confirmed by eastern as well as the western world. Indian self healing tradition believes that breath and energy are two strong forces which move together and sustain life; better the quality of breath, better the quality of life. Those of you familiar with the Chinese tradition of healing would know that Qì a Chinese symbol represents breath; and vital energy, which is a force that sustains all living beings.

With years or practice and knowledge, Indian sages devised techniques to control breath in several different ways, which helps the physical health establish a balanced and well-adjusted emotional temperament, and assist with spiritual growth.

The primary and most easily understandable and acceptable explanation for practicing pranaayam is this – when we breathe normally we inhale limited Oxygen (say, about 25% of what our body needs); but when we practice pranaayam breathing technique, percentage of oxygen inhaled goes up two or three fold and is able to reach every cell of our body. And when every cell is nourished well, it helps us to live a disease-free and healthy life.

Those of us who’ve learnt pranaayam/or practice it, adopt one of the two methods. Some of us keep four fingers open and press one nostril with thumb. And some of us curl index & middle fingers into our palm, relax our ring finger and pinkie, and then press our thumb close one nostril. Both techniques are correct and we should go with the one that suits us more.

Let’s understand functions that our two nostrils; i.e. the right and the left nostril perform. Both have functions beyond inhaling (breathe in) and exhaling (breathe out). According to Ayurveda, the right side represents the sun and the left side represents the moon.

If you’re having headaches, the simplest way to solve it through breathing is to close right nostril and use your left nostril to do breathing for about 5 min; relaxed inhaling-exhaling routine at a regular speed. Most of you will find that the headache is gone.

For those who’re feeling exhausted should perform breathing by closing the opposite nostril and breathing with the other.  i.e. close your left nostril and breathe only through your right nostril for 5 minutes. Soon you will feel refreshed.

This happens because the right side, which is the sun side, represents heat side, and thus gets heated easily. Likewise the left side nostril which represents the moon is basically cold in nature and tends to stay cool.As women mostly breathe through their left nostril they calm down more easily or feel generally more in control.  Men breathe mostly with their right nostril, so they’re known to lose temper more quickly.

If we make it a habit to check which nostril is breathing faster first thing in the morning as we wake up, it will help us to start our day better. If we find that our left nostril is breathing faster, we will notice that we feel very tired. In this situation we should close our left nostril and use your right nostril for breathing for a few minutes and we will notice that the tiredness is all gone and we feel fresh again.

It is a great idea to teach your kids about the breathing therapy early in life as the effect is much better and faster on kids compared to adults.

Coming to the headache, for people who complain of consistent headache should practice mediation. Sit in a relaxed position. Become aware of your breathing and regulate it. Once the cycle normalizes, close your right nostril and breathe with left nostril. In less than a week, you will notice that the headache problem is under control. Many people have tried this and have reported that it works better than any medicine did in the past! People who have had the patience to meditate at a fixed time everyday, for a month, have reported that headache has not reocurred at all!

Using Pranaayam or breathing techniques is a natural therapy to cure headache instead of going for medicines for an extended period of time that may come with its share of side effects, shown in the long run.

All you need to do is bring a small lifestyle change, and accommodate breathing in it. Practise the correct ways of breathing (breathe in and breathe out) and experience the relaxation you never had before!