All the Breath You Need:

Managing Your Emotional Energy

Anxious? Depressed? Low energy? Can’t calm down? Just feeling really off?

Maybe you need to take a breath. Or several breaths.

After all, one of the most powerful experiences in the practice of Kundalini Yoga comes from your very first class when you start to move with the breath — left-right, up-down, and then synchronize your postures with Breath of Fire.

It’s what effectively makes Kundalini Yoga a Pran Yoga, or a yoga of the breath.

And there are dozens and dozens of breathing practices and breath meditations in Kundalini Yoga that are used widely in many therapeutic applications.

There literally is a breath for every condition or illness one can imagine.

Yet there is one Kundalini breathing practice that does just about everything, good for everyone, and can change your life forever if you make it a daily practice.

And it can be done in 7 minutes.

The series uses five fundamental pranayams, or breathing patterns, based on the principles of Swara Yoga which is the science of using different pranic rhythms to effect the body and mind by working with the breath flow through the left and right nostrils.

The five breathing techniques are done in this sequence and for the times indicated:


The Basic Breath Series

Chandra Anga (Moon Path Breath)

Chandra Anga, more popularly known as the Moon or lunar breath, works primarily with the Ida Nadi to bring about coolness, relaxation and tranquility. The breath works powerfully on the right hemisphere of the brain, and has been useful in accessing mental patterns and unconscious habits. This predominantly activates the parasympathetic nervous system and manas shakti, the mental or lunar energy.

Breath Technique: The breath is controlled by inhaling and exhaling through the left nostril while blocking the right nostril with the thumb or finger. The breath is continuous, an equal long and easy inhale and exhale, without retention.

This is a tranquilizing, cooling and relaxing breath.

It is done for 1 to 3 minutes.


Surya Anga (Sun Path Breath)

Surya Anga, also known as the Sun or solar breath, works primarily with Pingala Nadi to bring about focus, awareness and energy. The breath works powerfully on the left hemisphere of the brain, and has been useful in expressing mental creativity and connecting with the external world. This predominantly activates the sympathetic nervous system and prana shakti, the vital or solar energy. In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (2:63), it is said that “when the body is tired, inhale through the right nostril.”

Breath Technique: The breath is controlled by inhaling and exhaling through the right nostril while blocking the left nostril with the thumb or finger. The breath is continuous, an equal long and easy inhale and exhale, without retention.

This is an activating, warming and elevating breath.

It is done for 1 to 3 minutes.


Chandra Bhedana (Moon Piercing Breath)

Chandra Bhedana, more popularly known as the Moon Piercing breath, works with Ida Nadi to bring about relaxation and alertness. The breath works on the right hemisphere of the brain and the parasympathetic nervous system.

Breath Technique: The breath is controlled by inhaling through the left nostril and exhaling through the right nostril, alternately blocking off the nostril not being used with a finger. The breath is continuous, an equal long and easy inhale and exhale, without retention.

This is a tranquilizing, cooling and relaxing breath.

It is done for 1 to 3 minutes.


Surya Bhedana (Sun Piercing Breath)

Surya Bhedana, more popularly known as the Sun Piercing breath, works with Pingala Nadi to increase warmth and strengthen projection. The breath works on the left hemisphere of the brain and the sympathetic nervous system.  In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika (2:50), it is said that practicing this pranayama purifies the brain and destroys the imbalances present in the vata (wind) dosha.

Breath Technique: The breath is controlled by inhaling through the right nostril and exhaling through the left nostril, alternately blocking off the nostril not being used with a finger. The breath is continuous, an equal long and easy inhale and exhale, without retention.

This is an activating, warming and elevating breath.

It is done for 1 to 3 minutes.


Breath of Fire (Agni Pran)

Breath of Fire is vitalizing and balancing, encouraging both detoxification and alertness, and focuses the mind while oxygenating the body. The benefits of this breath are numerous and as it activates the energy center at the solar plexus (the third chakra) which is associated with the fire element in yogic physiology.  It burns the impurities in the body and purifies the nervous system. The breath is enjoyably energizing.

Breath of Fire helps detoxify the lungs, mucous linings, blood vessels, and other cells. It expands the lung capacity and increases physical endurance.  It balances sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and strengthens the nerves.  It expands and energizes the body’s electromagnetic field.  It focuses the mind, elevates the mood, and alleviates depression.  It reduces addictive impulses for foods, drugs, and smoking. It boosts the immune system and stimulates glandular secretions.  It creates a harmonic resonance among all the body’s systems and synchronizes its biorhythms. It purifies and oxygenates the bloodstream within three minutes of practice.

Breath Technique: The breath is distinguished by a quick and equal active inhale and active exhale through the nose as if lightly panting with the mouth closed. There is an equal intensity and length of the inhale and the exhale, at the rate of 1 to 3 breaths per second. The heart is lifted and the solar plexus lightly dances with the breath, yet the movement is not forceful or contractive. The breath is rhythmical (equal length between inhale and exhale) and quick (1 to 3 breaths per second) so a continuous light panting breath through the nose is accomplished without strain. While breath of fire may consist of 60 to 180 inhalations and exhalations per minute, it is physiologically one continuous breath.  The lungs are never completely emptied or filled during the breath.  Instead, air is baffled or vibrated in and out of the lungs by the motion of the diaphragm at the navel point.

It is done for 3 to 7 minutes.


In Summary:

If you do this five-part sequence for the minimum times, it will take only 7 minutes. For a deep and lasting experience, try the maximum times suggested which will take about 19-20 minutes.

This sequence powerfully balances the body, brain, and emotions. Notice how it alternates between calming (left nostril) and energizing (right nostril) breath patterns, ending with the balancing breath fire through both nostrils.

This is an excellent practice to do in the morning or before your yoga practice. You will feel calm, relaxed, energized and centered throughout the day.

The Basic Breath Series is truly a gem of Kundalini Yoga with profound effects that can be shared with everyone!

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