Chandra Bhedana Pranayama (Left Nostril Breathing): Benefits and Steps

chandra bhedana pranayama

What is Chandra Bhedana Pranayama?

Chandra Bhedana pranayama exercise is known to help reduce feelings of anxiety and high blood pressure. The main goal is to activate the parasympathetic nervous system to ignite relaxation instead of stress. It is a less popular technique where you perform a single-nostril breath exercise. You inhale through the left nostril and with the right – exhale.

Chandra in Sanskrit translates to the ‘moon’ or ‘lunar aspect,’ and Bhedana translates to ‘piercing’ or ‘penetrating’ something. Chandra Bhedana Pranayama directly translates to “moon piercing breathing”.  With the emphasis on breathing through the left nostril, we access the Ida Nadi. This Nadi increases the coolness in our bodies. Just like the moon, it is refreshing, calming, and soothing. In turn, the heat from our bodies is exhaled from the right nostril. Because of the technique, this breathwork is also known as “the left nostril breathing.”

Chandra or moon also rules the feminine and artistic aspects of a soul. If you feel like you are in the middle of a creative block, practicing Chandra Bhedana can help you generate innovative ideas, ignite imagination, passion, and motivation in your creation. It relaxes the mind and handles cognitive capacities such as attention, visual shapes, patterns, emotions, verbal ambiguity, and implied meanings. Although the right brain governs these aspects, it is left nostril breathing that activates the right brain hemisphere.

Chandra Bhedana Breathing Steps

  1. To begin, take your right hand and fold your index finger and your middle finger.
  2. Then, touch your ring finger to your pinky and keep the thumb open.
  3. Alternatively, if this doesn’t feel good for the hand, take the ring finger in to open the pinky and the thumb. We will always inhale through the left nostril and exhale through the right nostril, and we’ll take this at a count of four. Four in, four out so that we can promote a deeper breath. 
  4. Take your thumb to your right nostril and gently close it.
  5. Then inhale four on the left. 
  6. Close the left and exhale through your right.
  7. Close the right once more, inhale through your left.
  8. Close the left and exhale through your right.
  9. Once you get the hang of it, inhaling left, you may close your eyes. You are always exhaling through the right.
  10. Notice the breath starting from your abdomen and then soften your shoulders, soften your arms, even your jaw, and your neck.
  11. When you have finished that exhalation out your right nostril, in no rush at all, release your hand to your lap. Breathe in through both nostrils and breathe out through both nostrils. It’s helpful with the eyes closed to take a scan of how you feel.
  12. Begin to open your eyes when you’re ready.

Chandra Bhedana Pranayam Benefits

The reason that we count to four is to promote a cycle of six breaths per minute. It’s shown that having 10 or fewer breaths per minute helps to encourage that relaxation response in your body. And in fact, there was a study in 2012 of this exact pranayama exercise where six breaths per minute over 27 rounds decreased high blood pressure and heart rate in those suffering from hypertension. In such a short period, we can change our response from anxiety to relaxation, and all it takes is mindfulness. Feel free to practice this first thing in the morning to set your day or even before bed so that you can get better sleep.

  • Chandra Bhedana Pranayama is better not practiced if you have asthma, low blood pressure, a cough, or other respiratory ailments.
  • Also, it is best not to practice too much during winter sessions or on a cool day. Practitioners should not eat right before and after the practice of this Pranayama.
  • It is best not to practice Chandra Bhedana pranayama just after or before other breathwork, primarily through the right nostril. Opposite Pranayama may neutralize the effects of one another. 

Olly Moran
Olly Moran
Website author

Olly Moran works as a freelance copywriter and brand communication strategist. She also gives lectures at the University of Amsterdam where she is based. She loves to eat healthy, sustainably, practice yoga, and workout. In her spare time, she works on music, enjoys Amsterdam, and travels.

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