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Friday, April 20, 2007

A weird thing that happened during yoga

I need to premise this entry with the fact that I am indeed not a seasoned yoga practitioner, so perhaps for all you seasoned practioners, you won't find this strange: Alternate nostril breathing

The name of this alone makes me want to crack up. It is the practice of using your fingers to press one of your nostrils closed while you breathe through the other, open nostril. After you close one of your nostrils, you are supposed to take a deep cleansing breath. Then you switch sides to breathe through the other nostril. I imagine if you use the incorrect fingers, then the believed healing benefits are thwarted. Our class was instructed to keep our eyes closed. That means this chick in the picture here is probably doing it wrong because her eyes are open. Then again, we were probably told that because no one would be able to keep a straight face if we had to see ourselves doing this in the mirror. Anyway, this technique is supposed to relax me, but it makes me want to laugh at its absurdity. I honestly thought the instructor was joking the first time I heard her instruct us to do this.

I find this especially silly since I can only ever breathe through one of my nostrils in the first place. So if I try to block the open nostril and breathe through the blocked one, I'll probably end up spewing snot onto my yoga mat. So I usually just sit still with my eyes closed and ignore this part of class as I think about the chocolate croissant I'm going to eat when I get out of there.

Then after this exercise was done, we moved on to a breathing technique that was supposed to shoot oxygen up to my brain. The last time I checked, however, regardless of how I suck the air in, it still has to go through my lungs and into my bloodstream before any oxygen gets to my brain. But maybe that's just because I'm doing it wrong.


  1. Thanks for the funny post. After all you've been through the comedy of yoga breathing is a welcome relief! Thinking of you and praying for you, daily.

  2. You crazy, rational woman.

  3. i find that yoga has helped me so much. i am its new best friend. it is awkward at first but the best thing that has ever happened to me at the gym.

  4. My prenatal yoga teacher used to have us do alternate nostril breathing in our prenatal class, and although I would try really, really hard to do it, because of the blocked nostril issue, I could rarely perform this exercise for balancing sun and moon energy. She recommended using this breathing if we were experiencing insomnia, and honestly, I wish I had your sense of humor in the moment and good common sense overall, because all it did was make me anxious and feel a bit like a yogic underachiever. How ridiculous!! See you soon!

  5. O.k., so I missed this post originally being 10 days post-Vivian. But I still wanted to comment. :^) I went to a special meditation thing a couple of years back and we did alternate nostril breathing for probably TWO HOURS!! I have to say, I did feel the pressure of doing it right - even with my eyes closed (aqlthough I peeked a few times), but eventually, it was actuall very relaxing. Definitely unusual - but I kind of liked it. Have I done it since? Uh, no. :^)

    But this post does inspire me to look into a yoga class . . .