You Put Your Right Nostril In

September 4, 2009 at 2:54 pm (Random Thoughts, Virtual Gems)


Okay, it’s Friday of Labor Day weekend, and my brain is quite mushy after spending the week preparing for Query Day this next Tuesday. However, as to not slack off, I still wanted to continue posting with my overall theme of writing, so I was in a quandary. Light and breezy, or a Serious Writing Topic? Lucky for me, a natural, tie-breaking topic presented itself.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Dominant Nostril Breathing.

Once upon a time (or forty-eight hours ago, take your pick), I saw on teaser on Yahoo about getting better sleep through breathing. Being one of the millions of us who has trouble sleeping on occasion, I clicked on the link. The story was one of those that made you want to laugh, try it, then call your best friend. At its core was this:

 An ancient yoga practice postulates that each nostril shares characteristics with brain hemisphere dominance. So if the left nostril is less obstructed, the right side of the brain—creativity—is more dominant. Similarly, if the right nostril is less obstructed, your logical side will shine through.

What does this have to do with sleeping? It turns out that when we breathe through our right nostril, we are energized, and when we breathe through our left we relax. So I guess if I’m having trouble sleeping, I reach up, pinch my nose shut on my right side, and drift off to blissful (and theoretically more artistic) sleep.

I further learned that your nostrils switch dominance every 2 or 3 hours, and you can tell which one is dominant by blocking off each and seeing which one is easier to breathe through. (I’m having a really hard time not breaking into giggles as I write this.) I tried this, and surprise—I could breathe easier through my left nostril, further sealing my self-appointed title of Queen of the Creative Universe. Or at least for those 2 or 3 hours.

So, if you happen to be sleepy, writing, or incredibly bored this holiday weekend, give Dominant Nostril Breathing a try. You may be surprised at the results.

Just make sure you list me in the acknowledgements of your next best seller.


  1. jenifer said,

    I hope this isn’t over-sharing, but what does it say about me if I can breathe in through my nose really hard and make one or both nostrils self close (cave in)? I even have some amount of control over which one closes. Does that mean I am controlling the balance between my creative and logical sides? And when they both close, is that a sign of good brain balance?

    Yep, I’m giggly too. I only wish I had read this at 1:30 this morning when I couldn’t sleep. I think I would have giggled even more then. 🙂

  2. Marilyn Brant said,

    I saw this online, too!!! And even read the whole article on it. But you–my funny and creative friend (must be that left nostril breathing)–have taken it to the next level by blogging about it… Thanks for the evening giggle! SO excited for you and the big Q-Day on Tuesday. 🙂

  3. Montana (curtbooks) said,

    I tried this and found a crayon.

  4. Pamela Cayne said,

    Jenifer-it means you are a higher class of species than the rest of us, Noso Sapien. (Kinda like those little old guys in the kung fu movies with long mustaches but can split a grain of rice with a flick of their pinkie.) And hey, now you know what to do when you can’t sleep! 😉

    Marilyn-good to know I’m not the only nutsy one, reading about odd yoga practices. Thanks for the well wishes on Q-Day. May both nostrils triumph! 😀

  5. Pamela Cayne said,

    Montana-what color? 🙂

  6. Robin said,

    That is too funny! And now I’m going to be thinking about my nose, which you know, might keep me up at night. 😉

    I’m super excited for you too and wish you the very best next week!!

  7. Pamela Cayne said,

    Robin-just let us know if the extra thinking about your nose, and I would assume, your change in breathing, makes you calmer or more energized. We’ll form a focus group or something. 🙂

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