Beat the Heat! Cool Yourself Down with Chandra Bhedana, the Cooling Breath
In this post: In Chandra Bhedana, the cooling breath, you inhale through the left nostril. Notice how your mind slows, you feel mentally soothed, and your body cools.
Chandra Bhedana is known as the cooling “moon” breath. You may not know this, but our left nostril is associated with the moon and the moon’s cooling energy. Our right nostril, which is used in Surya Bhedana, is associated with the sun and the sun’s heating energy.
Therefore, when practicing Chandra Bhedana, which involves inhaling through the left nostril, you will notice your mind slows, you feel mentally soothed, and you tap into the cooling “moon” energy of the left nostril.
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What Happens When You Practice Chandra Bhedana?
In addition to calming your mind and cooling your body, Chandra Bhedana is also useful in several other ways. According to Sarvyoga, practicing Chandra Bhedana can also:
- reduce body heat.
- reduce heartburn.
- refresh and energize the body and mind.
- lower high blood pressure.
- reduce fever.
- decrease the flow of gall.
- help the mind focus.
- reduce tension, stress, and other mental problems.
Don’t Try This If…
Do not perform Chandra Bhedana if you have:
- low blood pressure; or
- a cough, cold, or another respiratory issue.
Sarvyoga advises that in the initial stage of a cold or respiratory issue, you should quit holding your breath. Continue removing the breath retention from your practice for 2 months.
Also, if you are new to breath work, please practice Chandra Bhedana first. It is not appropriate for a beginner to do the more advanced Surya Bhedana .
Regardless of skill level, do not complete Chandra Bhedana and Surya Bhedana in the same day.
Always try to practice breath work on an empty stomach.
Chandra Bhedana’s Ratio
According to Sarvyoga, you should “maintain the ratio of inhalation, retention and exhalation as 1:4:2. For beginners do not hold your breath and keep the ratio 1:2 for inhalation and exhalation.”
How to Practice Chandra Bhedana
- Begin in a comfortable position. You can be on your back or seated, whatever works best for you.
- Place your right hand in the Visnu Mudra. In this hand position (the same one that you use for Nadi Shodhana), you bring your pointer and middle fingers toward your palm while keeping the other fingers and thumb extended.
- Block your right nostril by placing your thumb against your nasal passage.
- Establish Jalandhara bandha and slowly inhale through the left nostril. Count while you breathe. You can use ujjayi breathing if you need help creating a smooth, long inhale.
- Pause for four to five seconds at the top of your inhale.
- Release the right nostril and block the left.
- Exhale through the right nostril. Count while you exhale. Your exhale should take longer than your inhale.
This counts as one set. If you are new to this kind of breathing, begin with 10 sets. Eventually, increase the number of breath sets and the overall duration of your breath work. The goal is that one day you will be able to breathe in this manner for 10 minutes or more.
For the Visual Learners…
Here is a video for the visual learners who want to practice Chandra Bhedana.
Before You Begin…
Before you begin any breathing practice, make sure you are sitting in a comfortable position. Take a moment to mentally check in with your body.
Notice where you are tight. Notice where you have pain. Then, as you breathe, try to create relief for these areas.
Also, make sure the breathing practice you selected meets your goals. For example, if you’re looking for a more advanced breathing practice or if you want to heat yourself, you want to practice Surya Bhedana, not Chandra Bhedana.
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Do you have any other tips for practicing Chandra Bhedana? Please let us know in the comments below.