Follow Your Nose To The Tables
A few months ago, I wrote a short article about
reminding the players in our community to breathe
properly before and during their game. In that article,
I wrote about how we live in a culture of "breath
holders" and how I continue to remind the player to
breathe when it is their turn to shoot.
A question students ask is if it is better to breathe
through their nose or through their mouth. My general
answer is that I breathe in through my nose and out
through my mouth except when I practice an exercise that
is known as alternate nostril breathing, utilized in
yoga circles. And, Iíve seen martial artists use it too.
The exercise can also be found with a few guided
meditation tapes. There is a tape by Eric Nielson
offered by Jerry Pattersonís group that also utilizes
Because the question prompted me to talk about it with
the student, I thought that I would explain the exercise
in short detail. This exercise is practiced by both the
Dice Coach and I and a good time for us to practice it
is when we head to the lavatory to wash our hands before
and after playing a session because it can look a bit
silly doing it in public. And, it is always best to wash
our hands just as a general practice.
We also use this when we find ourselves in "sticky"situations
and need to "clear our heads"to respond quickly and with
the least amount of resistance. Iíve witnessed Dice
Coachís way of telling a person to "chill out,"in a
heated situation, by yelling: "Hey dude, practice some
alternate nostril breathing!!"Just the fact that he says
this out loud makes everyone involved in a heated
situation laugh. One of the things you have to love
about the Dice Coach is his wit.
Anyway, back to the exercise and why a player should
consider using it.
Using your thumb and index finger, you are going to
press closed one nose nostril and inhale through the
other side and then you will close off the nostril you
inhaled through with your thumb and release your breath
through the alternate nostril. In other words, switch to
the opposite nostril each time you breathe out.
Repeat this alternating exercise and you will discover a
couple of things. One side is easier to breathe in and
out of or both sides are easy to breathe in and out of.
The reader can do a Google search for greater detail on
the howís and whyís of it.
Generally, what a person will find is that the results
change through out the day. A healthy player will
breathe through one nostril for about two hours and will
then alternate to the other nostril.
Without getting into too much scientific detail, the
player will notice which side of his anatomy is
functioning better than the other. Researchers have
found that there is a connection between the nostril
breathing with greater ease and the opposite hemisphere
of your brain.
The Yogis believe that this is due to how the body
builds and releases heat with the right nostril
generating heat and the left one releasing heat from the
body and this is how the bodyís energy stays in balance.
So, from an energetic stand point, when the left nostril
is more open it is a good time to do creative stuff
where your imagination is heightened. When the right
nostril is more open, it is a great time for activity
and physical movement.
It would be interesting to notice how your performance
at the tables is tied into which nostril is the
predominant one. Iíll let you figure out which nostril
will provide you with peek performance. Ideally, I look
for a balance in both nostrils before hitting the tables
as an indicator to play or not to play.
One thing to remember, do not do this exercise when you
have a cold or when you know one of your nostrils is
physically blocked. I just have to mention this.
Next time you are getting ready for a session make a
conscious effort to do this. All it takes is 60 seconds
to balance your brain, relax your mind and body and have
your energy flowing though out your body as you make
your way to the craps pit.
Iíll end this article with the same way I ended my last
article about the importance of breathing and state
that, for me, it is so humbling how the simple human
breath can define my path to success in this game.