Yoga India Foundation

Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing) – Instructions, Benefits & Contra-Indications

Anulom Vilom Pranayama

Are you interested to learn more about Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)? Look no further, we got you covered! Anulom Vilom Pranayama, also known as Alternate Nostril Breathing, is a yogic breathing exercise rooted in ancient Indian traditions. The term “Anulom Vilom” can be translated as follows: “Anulom” means ‘in order,’ and “Vilom” means ‘opposite’ or ‘against the natural order.’ In English, it can be understood as ‘Alternate Nostril Breathing.’ This pranayama technique involves alternating the breath between the left and right nostrils.

The background of Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing) is deeply connected to the science of yoga, specifically to the branch known as pranayama. Pranayama focuses on controlled breathing to enhance the flow of prana, or life force, within the body. Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing) is believed to balance the two main energy channels in the body, known as Ida and Pingala, which are associated with the left and right nostrils, respectively. The practice aims to harmonize these energies, bringing about a sense of balance and well-being.

From a scientific perspective, Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing) has been associated with various health benefits. It is believed to reduce stress, enhance respiratory function, and improve overall lung capacity. The controlled, rhythmic breathing pattern of Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing) may have a calming effect on the nervous system, promoting relaxation and mental clarity.

What is Anulom Velom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing) ?

In the rhythmic movement of breath, Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing) emerges as full yogic breathing therapy. This ancient yogic breathing technique involves the conscious, sequential breathing through each nostril, balancing the flow of vital energy, or prana, within the body. It is used to re-set the body temperature, balance the left and right main nadis (energy channels) and re-gain mental and physical balance. It’s linked to optimum endocrine function.

How to Anulom Velom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing) - Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Comfortable Seated Position: Begin by finding a quiet and comfortable place to sit. Sit in a cross-legged position on the floor or on a chair with your spine straight and shoulders relaxed.

  2. Nasal Cleansing: Before starting Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing), it’s beneficial to practice nasal cleansing. Use a Neti Pot or saline nasal spray to clear the nasal passages.

  3. Pranayama Mudra: Adopt the Pranayama Mudra by placing your right thumb on your right nostril and the ring finger or pinky finger on your left nostril. Your index and middle fingers can rest lightly on your forehead or the space between your eyebrows.

  4. Inhale and Exhale:
    • Close your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale deeply and slowly through your left nostril.
    • After a full inhalation, close your left nostril with your ring or pinky finger, release the right nostril, and exhale completely.
    • Inhale deeply through your right nostril, then close it again with your right thumb, release the left nostril, and exhale completely.

  5. Complete the Cycle: This completes one cycle of Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing). Continue this rhythmic breathing, alternating nostrils with each breath. Inhale through one nostril, switch, and exhale through the other.

  6. Focus on the Breath: As you practice, focus your attention on the breath, bringing mindfulness to each inhalation and exhalation. Feel the flow of air, and let your mind become absorbed in the present moment.

  7. Gradual Increase: If you’re new to Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing), start with a few minutes and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable with the practice.

  8. Closure: After completing the desired duration, release both nostrils and sit quietly for a moment, observing the natural flow of your breath
anulom velom pranayam

What are the Benefits of Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)?

  1. Balanced Energy Flow: Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing) harmonizes the flow of prana through the Ida and Pingala nadis, promoting balance and vitality.

  2. Stress Reduction: The conscious, regulated breathing induces a relaxation response, reducing stress and anxiety levels.

  3. Enhanced Respiratory Function: Regular practice improves lung capacity and respiratory efficiency, fostering overall lung health.

  4. Improved Concentration: This pranayama enhances mental clarity and concentration by balancing the left and right hemispheres of the brain.

  5. Detoxification: The controlled breath helps eliminate toxins from the body, purifying the bloodstream and organs.

  6. Re-Setting: Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing) aims at re-setting the body temperature, energy levels and mental state, thus providing a kickstart of well-being on all levels.

Who Shouldn't Practice Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)?

While Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing) offers numerous benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone. Individuals with respiratory conditions, such as asthma or chronic sinus issues, should approach this practice with caution. Pregnant individuals, especially in advanced stages, should avoid prolonged breath retention and resets of body temperature. Additionally, people who experience anxiety are not advised to close the eyes while practicing Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing).

Importance of Learning Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing) under the Guidance of an Experienced Teacher

The profound nature of Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing) calls for a skilled guide, and learning under the guidance of an experienced teacher is paramount. The Yoga India Foundation in Rishikesh stands as a beacon of authentic yogic teachings, where seasoned instructors offer personalized guidance. Under their tutelage, practitioners can explore the nuances of Anulom Velom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing), ensuring a safe and enriching journey into the realm of breath and well-being.

Embark on the transformative path of Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing), and let the rhythmic dance of breath guide you towards holistic wellness. As you explore this ancient practice, remember to approach it with mindfulness and reverence.

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