Which half of your brain are you using at the moment?

There are some truths you figure out yourself without needing to study them elsewhere.

I learnt a bit of yoga when I was a child, and while doing pranayama, learnt that the left nostril leads to the right part of the brain and vice versa.

Some years later, I bought the book Whole Brain Thinking, and discovered the individual strengths (or shall we say personality traits?) of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. (For an excellent summary of what whole brain thinking is all about, see this article by John Adams)

Well, connecting the dots, I deduced the following principle:

When one is breathing through the left nostril, the right brain is active, and vice versa.

I decided to put this to the test and here’s what I found:

1. Yoga’s ancient adage about the nostrils connecting to the other side of the brain has been proven by science.
2. My hypotheses is held up both by yoga and what’s now called ‘alternative’ medicine or therapies.

I’ve tested this hypotheses of mine practically several times, and it turns out to be true without fail. What I have not been able to achieve is what the yogis preach: change the dominant nostril at the first sign of any physical or mental disturbance. Whenever I try that, not only do I not succeed, I get more frustrated and upset!

A few asides:

– Spiritual comes from the word Spiritus, which means breath in Latin
– In the movie Out of Africa, Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford) bemoans how the foot has never been appreciated by the poets. I think the same is true about the nostrils. Consider this: Each day, the nose cleans about 10,000 litres of air, which has to be filtered and air-conditioned, to the, um, taste of the lungs – 80% humidity and 35 degrees Centigrade. It is no mean feat!

100th Post CelebrationBy the way, this is finally my 100th post. A very grateful thanks to all my readers – here’s some celebration to go along with it!


3 thoughts on “Which half of your brain are you using at the moment?

  1. Congrats on your 100th post. You are quite prolific!
    About yoga, I practice it 3-4 times a week and its the breathing which is at the heart of yoga. The breathing techniques clear your brain, improve thinking. Sure, yoga improves one’s flexibility too, but I can really swear by the fantastic effect of the various breathing techniques. It works almost instantly. Before yoga you could be feeling dull, but after half an hour of breathing, suddenly you are on a high!

  2. Congrats, M!
    Your posts seem to be getting better…or am I getting better at reading?! 😉
    Breathing is very important, especially if someone leaves you breathless!!
    Cheers from Mykonos, Greece, where I am breathing heavy with semi-naked females running around, trying to escape geriatric ex-alpha males (don’t count myself yet amongst them!)

  3. Nita: Thanks again! Yes, I think amateur approach to yoga is more about physical well-being, and the more advanced practitioners are focused on breathing and peace of mind. Unfortunately, I got out of the yoga world before I moved ahead of the physical stuff!

    Ramana: Thanks! Nice to know you’re enjoying your Greek trip!

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