Spring is in the air in Shanghai. April unfolds and warmer temperatures start to get established. My favourite Brazilian teacher is back in time and I did some new discoveries doing Yin yoga and some breathing techniques.
First, we did this breathing technique called “Nadi Sodhana”. This means purification of channels. It’s quite simple, you just breath through one nostril at a time. So you breathe in through the left, out through the right, in through the right and out from the left and so forth. It actually feels a bit funny, we are not that conscious through which nostril we are breathing through normally.
Apparently, a healthy person will switch and alternate between nostrils every two hours. This varies of course since most of us are not in optimal health. It is believed that if air flows in one nostril for more than two hours it will have an effect on our health. For the right side, mental and nervous disturbance could be the results. For the left one, the result can be chronic fatigue and reduced brain function. This is some serious things! I also learnt that the right nostril is linked to the left brain and vice versa.
So why do this kind of breathing technique? As the teacher illustrated, it is like mixing a cup of espresso and chamomile tea. We feel energetic and drunk at the same time. Energised and relaxed by mixing the air and the flow into our brain. By doing this, optimum creativity and optimum logical verbal activity can be achieved. It is one of the best technique to calm the mind and the nervous system.
I read some more about this. The right side of our brain controls creative activity whilst the left is controlling logical verbal activity. There is today scientific proof of this, but the ancient yogis have known about this for far longer. One interesting example of this is that if you breathe for a longer time through the left nostril only, it will produce asthma. This is of course over a period of years.
Think about it, maybe that’s why so many people have asthma today? We are simply breathing wrong? I don’t even know which nostril I’m breathing from. Yogis also believe that diabetes is caused by breathing mainly through the right nostril. So there we have it, imbalances of both sides.
I realise that yoga does just that. Bringing us back to the centre to be more balanced people. If you are very flexible, you will build strength. If you are strong you will get more flexible, or both. Overhyped people learn to calm down and to become more grounded. If you are tired, you get energised by all the blood flow. The more I think about it, it’s more about these difference.
Having done a lot of physical challenging yoga lately to get in shape for the teacher training, I decided it was time to discover some of the calmer ones too. I had only been to one Yin yoga class before that was a bit different. This one was a very slow class, holding postures for 5 maybe up to 10 minutes.
One might think that yin yoga is easy as it’s not as physically challenging as other types of yoga. This is wrong! This might be the hardest form of yoga for me. Make things slowly, wait, breathe and listen to the body. I realised I got into postures too quickly to realise that I couldn’t hold if for that long. Then it became really painful.
The idea is really to soften the body, complete different dynamic. It’s a journey inwards where you learn how to listen to your body and your being. I’m now more intrigued to discover more of yin yoga in complement to Ashtanga and Vinyasa. We all need a bit of yin energy in our lives too.
Finally, the teacher finished the class by playing some sitar. This was so cool, I have never heard the sitar before. It sounds a bit like an instrument that doesn’t really know where it’s going, the tunes are kind of psychadelic and beautiful. A bit like hindi jazz. So relaxing and nice to hear some live music. I also adore this teacher for his stories about Indian gods and different metafors in life. Young but when he teaches he is like a 100 year old guru. Yoga allows you to meet amazing people, so grateful. When was the last time you met an amazing energetic person?