While working with Doug Keller this summer, he talked about the emotions and the nostrils. One idea is that by guiding the breath into different areas of the nostrils you can affect you experience and emotions.
That night, my partner, Mike, told me something that my ex-mother-in-law said. It really bothered me. I could feel my stomach churn as anger and hurt began to build up. What a great opportunity to try out what Doug had talked about.
Noticing the breath and how it moved in and out of my nostrils, I felt the current strongest at the top of my nostrils. It was a bit difficult, but I was able to move the current to the bottom and then finally to the center. I focused on the left nostril and laid on my right side to help open it.
The situation had not changed, but my emotional knee-jerk reaction had. I still thought the comment was inappropriate, but the churning knot in my stomach was gone. Amazingly, I slept like a baby (well, not like a baby, since they tend to be up all night and I was out solid).
Recently, this shifting of the breath in the nostrils proved useful again. A student came by for some meditation to help her cope with a challenging life situation that she's currently going through. Her emotions were strong--controlled, but strong. As she began to move the current of her breath from the top, sides, bottom, center, and finally to a swirl near the center, a small smile came to her face. She commented, "I feel happy. It's a little freaky and amazing that by just moving my breath I can feel this way."
Something powerful is happening here. This is just the tip of the iceberg concerning what breath can do.