This episode is part of a course.
Your Body on Yoga Artwork
Season 5 - Episode 3

Nervous System Hack

5 min - Tutorial


Kristin offers a talk and tutorial on ways we can use nostril breathing techniques to hack the nervous system.
What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video


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I have some shocking news for you honestly you may want to sit down you have erectile tissue in your nose it's true and just like every other erectile tissue that you might be thinking of dirty birds of when blood engorges the area it swells right and if you have this on the inner lining of your nostrils and sinuses via your nervous system through that autonomic part of your nervous system every 88 minutes to 4 hours somewhere within that frame one nostril begins to swell making the other one more dominant and then it switches and then it switches and it switches now this is kangaroo and this is very reflective of what we say in yoga language every 88 minutes or so one nostril becomes dominant and thusly one nadi becomes dominant when your left nostril is predominant your Ida nadi is predominant and this is your feminine lunar cooling yin meridian in the body or energetic pathway when your right nostril is predominant your pingala or a pingala depending on your teacher is dominant and pingala is the heated masculine yang active solar channel and we're supposed to in a healthy body in both yoga language and anatomy language kind of swing peacefully back and forth between both because the dualities are needed both are needed the issue becomes of course if we get thrown into one or if one's not suiting us and this is how we can start to do some different techniques to enter in to this autonomic nervous system I like to think of it as hacking the autonomic nervous system so we could do things to make our left nostril more dominant so things like Chandra beta not lunar purification so you can inhale through the left nostril exhale through the right nostril and then you do it again inhale through the left exhale through the right inhale through the left exhale through the right eventually it takes a couple of minutes to express your left nostril will become predominant now not just eat the naughty will become predominant but also parasympathetic nervous system more dominant you could do things to elicit your right nostril dominance so say you have to get up and give a talk or you have to get to work or get those emails done and you're just can't get off the couch right might behoove you to make the right nostril more dominant so you could do things like Surya beta or Sun purification so you can inhale through the right nostril exhale through the left inhale again through the right out through the left into the right out through the left eventually a couple minutes the right nostril becomes more dominant and thusly pingala more dominant dominant and also sympathetic nervous system becomes more dominant there's also a short form because sometimes if you're at the office putting your hand on your nose and doing this kind of action might be frowned upon so you can do it in a more sneaky way because of some cool stuff in the body like the axillary ganglia and this little bundle of nerves that are in your kind of armpit region if you take a hand underneath your armpit or you just kind of squeeze but hand is a little more useful let's say you take your right hand under your left armpit you could do it with me right now eventually takes a couple minutes to express itself your right nostril contralateral your right nostril will become more dominant if you take your left hand under your right armpit a couple minutes your left nostril will become more dominant we also have a technique in yoga land that we take both hands under both armpits it's very Mary Catherine from sari nightlife but it has a reason it's called pada dearsasana and both hands under both armpits will begin to bring balance between right and left nostril just like our technique of naughty children into the left out through the right in through the right out through the left alternating the flow of breath through the nostrils this brings us into a state of balance in those dualities a state of balance in the nostril flow and is an excellent technique before a meditation practice so I hope you found this useful where you can hack the nervous system doing breathing techniques and finessing your erectile tissue in your nose


this is so interesting! Thank you for enlightening me and also helping me with a LH nostril ‘issue’ i encountered!
Kristin Leal
Awesome! Thanks for practicing with me Emfortee !
Kate M
2 people like this.
Well! So cool to learn that this has an anatomical basis! And the armpit thing really works!! Regarding this "hack" my teacher showed me (years ago), an old traditional painting of a guru sitting with a little "crutch" that would just fit under an armpit when seated. It was used to promote meditation in the same way as your hack. I was told that when the flow (svara)in the two nostrils is even, is the best time for meditation.
Kristin Leal
Yes Kate ! I believe that was called a "danda" or "staff" which is where we get dandasana from!
Yugan S
1 person likes this.
Fantastic explanation. Finally got it
Kristin Leal
Yugan Yay! I'm so happy it clicked with you:)
Lily A
Hi Kristin! So relevant. What a crucial way to help pivot energy flow through the nadis to encourage activation or relaxation! Thank you! I was wondering about the biological reason behind our autonomical response of sending more blood flow to one nostril and then changing it to the other ever 88 mins - 4 hours. Why would the body need to have a dominant nostril?
Kristin Leal
1 person likes this.
Such a good question Lily A and one that I've also asked around about with no satisfying answers:) My best guess is it's a way to maintain balance in the blood flow to the brain (regulating temp) but to be honest that's just a guess:)
Great tutorial. I had deviated septum surgery years ago and my right nostril is much more open than my left. I'll have to do these practices very often to try to balance thme out better. Many thanks for this information.
Kristin Leal
1 person likes this.
ThanksVera O for practicing with me! So happy you are here!

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