Side Channel Balance

Stretching out the body is one of the benefits of yoga. But, we are not stretching just our body. We are elongating and thinning our physical, mental and emotional blockages within our inner channels. So if we focus on our right side to motivate a movement, then the inner body on the right side gets tuned. The right side, is called the Sun Channel, or in Sanskrit, the Pingala Nadi. The left side is the Moon Channel, or Ida Nadi.

How do we know where these channels are in our body? How do we feel them? Here is a rough map for these energy rivers. The origin of these channels is said to be located in the pelvis, (or around the navel). The termination point of each of these channels is at the nostril on each side. The right channel ends at the right nostril and the left channel at the left nostril. To feel your right channel, focus your attention on your right nostril. Blocking the left nostril is one way to feel the right side more distinctly.

I started this class with a simple exploration of single nostril breathing so that each student could sense their right and left channels. Even if a clear sense of the channel does not come, we know that we are in the right neighborhood if our focus is on the nostril.

In the warm up below, the first three movements are all motivated by the fingertips of the right hand. So, the focus is on the right channel. Draw your breath through your inner map along your right side.

Begin seated in Sukhasana, crossed legs.

1. Bow Forward
With the right hand extending forward on the floor, palm up, bow forward.

2. Twist
Sit upright, sweep your right fingertips along the floor until they are behind you and twist to the right. Place your left hand on your right knee.

3. Side Bend
Leading with your right fingertips again, bring your right hand from the back up and over to the left, along your right ear, for a side bend.

4. Chest Opener
Return to the center and clasp both hands behind your back. Lift your sternum up.

5. More Opening
Bow forward bringing your hands up and over your head towards the floor in front of you. Keep your pelvis grounded.

6. Clasp Hands in Front
Maintain your forward fold, release your hand clasp from the back and clasp them in front of you at shoulder height.

7. Cat
With your hands clasped, press your palms forward away from you and round your spine back.

8. Hands Up
Lift your hands up so that your palms face towards the ceiling. Unfolding and elongating the kinks along your right and left sides.

Repeat beginning with the left hand leading.

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