You Should Breathe Through This Nostril For An Energy Boost

When you're in need of an energy boost — and fast — a cup of coffee, an energy drink, or a quick jog around the block all seem like quick fixes. Surprisingly, science says that we may also be able to add holding our nose to that list of low-energy remedies. Each of our nostrils differs from the other when it comes to size, shape, and airflow (via Medical Discovery News), but did you know that our nostrils can also have their own unique impact on our mood? It all depends on which one you hold closed and which one you breathe through.

Breathing, while essential for survival, is also beneficial for our emotional health and wellness. Diaphragmatic breathing, or deep breathing, sends relaxation signals to the body and can be used as an effective means to disarm our body's stress response in our daily lives (via Harvard Medical School). Deep breaths through the nose fill the deepest regions of our lungs, which increases oxygen intake and, in turn, can decrease blood pressure and slow a rapid heart rate.

If deep belly breathing slows us down, what style of breathing picks us up?

The differences between right and left nostril breathing

A study published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology found that engaging in right nostril breathing multiple times a day over the course of a month had an "activating effect" on male participants, while left nostril breathing participants had a body response that demonstrated a "relaxing effect." 

This idea of differing energies between the nostrils is rooted in the practice of yoga, or pranayama (via Yoga International). Yoga texts have long referred to the energy of the left nostril as "cooling," much like the moon, while the right nostril is associated with "warming" energy, like that of the sun. Looking back on the previously mentioned study, such comparisons to the moon and the sun are accurately reflected in the findings of the alternatively stimulating and calming effects of each nostril.

According to the GRD Healing Arts Clinic & Yoga Center, right nostril breathing, or Pingala breathing, is best practiced by bringing your right arm across your body and using your right index finger to hold the left nostril closed. Be sure to keep all other fingers on your right hand extended upwards. Next, inhale deeply by taking a long, slow breath in through your right nostril — no need to hold your breath. Once you've inhaled, exhale through the same nostril with a long, slow, emptying breath.

According to Yoga International, activities such as driving, exercising, or any physical or challenging tasks are better served with right nostril stimulation.