Moonbreathing or Chandra Bhedana is an ancient breathing technique, in which you inhale through your left nostril and exhale through your right. The intention is to slow down your breathing speed. After all, the left side of your body would have a connection with your nervous system, which you can calm down by breathing. In yoga philosophy, the moon represents calm, while its opposite, the sun, represents energy. Therefore, it is best to practice chandra (moon) bhedana before going to sleep, and not surya (sun) bhedana.
“Normally we use the breathing during yoga to increase our energy,” says yoga teacher Bert Peeters . “Moonbreathing is therefore less common on the mat. But it is useful, especially if you breathe with your entire chest and stomach. Your body relaxes the fastest. “
“Before you start the moon breathing, you first fill your belly with air. Then you let your chest rise slowly. A kind of wave movement through your torso. When you exhale, do the same in the opposite direction, as if slowly deflating. That way of breathing in combination with chandra bhedana gives a much more effective result. ”
1. Sit up straight or lay relaxed on your back. Your feet fall open and your arms are slightly spread at your sides.
2. Close your eyes.
3. Breathe with your stomach and chest for a few minutes.
4. Begin chandra bhedana breathing: close your right nostril with your right thumb. It is more a very soft closing than a great pressure.
4. Inhale through your left nostril.
5. Close your left nostril with your right ring finger, so that you can no longer breathe. Both nostrils are therefore closed during the breath stop.
6. Remove your thumb from the right nostril and exhale. Keep the left closed.
Repeat for a few minutes until your breathing is slower and you feel relaxed.
The 4-7-8 method
Is ‘moonbreathing’ not quite your thing after all? Then there is the 4-7-8 method. Basically, you inhale for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of seven, and then exhale for a count of eight. Because you focus on your breathing in such a way, your body relaxes and you fall asleep more easily.
That’s how you do it
1. Place the tip of your tongue against your gums, directly behind your front teeth.
2. Sit up straight or lie relaxed on your back. Your feet fall open and your arms are slightly spread at your sides.
2. Breathe in through your nose for a count of four.
3. Hold your breath for seven seconds.
4. Exhale through your mouth for a count of eight. Your tongue is still in the same place.
5. Repeat the exercise until you fall asleep.