Try Chandra Bhedana, the Cooling “Moon” Breath

chandra bhedana
Thanks to banyanbotanicals.com for the image.

Chandra Bhedana is known as “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.

Benefits of Chandra Bhedana

In addition to calming your mind and cooling your body, Chandra Bhedana is also useful in several other ways. According to Sarvyoga, some other benefits of Chandra Bhedana include:

  • reduces body heat.
  • reduces heart burn.
  • refreshes and energizes the body and mind.
  • lowers high blood pressure.
  • reduces in fever.
  • decreases the flow of gall.
  • helps the mind focus.
  • reduces tension, stress, and other mental problems.

Cautions

Do not perform Chandra Bhedana if you have:

  • asthma;
  • 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 stay with this practice to build your skill. 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.

Practice 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.”

Chandra Bhedana

  1. Begin in a comfortable position. You can be on your back or seated, whatever works best for you.
  2. 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.
  3. Block your right nostril by placing your thumb against your nasal passage.
  4. 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.
  5. Pause for four to five seconds at the top of your inhale.
  6. Release the right nostril and block the left.
  7. 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.

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Do you have any other tips for practicing Chandra Bhedana? Please let us know in the comments below.

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Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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